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Marillion - Misplaced Childhood CD (album) cover

MISPLACED CHILDHOOD

Marillion

 

Neo-Prog

4.24 | 1471 ratings

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ScorchedFirth
5 stars (10/10)

There really is something very special about this one. Reading through all the (sometimes essay-length) reviews you find person after person who has a deep personal connection to Marillion's 1985 masterpiece, "Misplaced Childhood". Well, I am one of those people. One of the people who listened to this record religiously for about a year (in my first year of university), finding myself falling deeper and deeper into the expansive soundscapes, memorising every little detail, every beat, every soaring guitar melody, every tortured, poetic lyric, until it was all a part of me.

After the triumphant debut of "Script for a Jester's Tear", and the subsequent followup "Fugazi", Marillion returned to the studio once more, to bring to life lead singer Fish's vision of a concept album spread across moments from his own life, moving through regret, despair, realisation and finally ending on an uplifting defiant note. Lyrically this is an extremely strong release, Fish has a knack for crystallising an idea in a very powerful way, whether it be in the "show don't tell" poetic manner, like the elegantly songspoken start to "Bitter Suite", or the dramatic anguished performance delivered in the climax of "Blind Curve". I've always been a fan of singers with a genuinely emotive delivery, who can switch between different emotional styles to give you a full evocative picture, and Fish for me is in the pantheon of greats in this respect (along with Messrs Hammill and Gabriel). Able to move between anything from the previously mentioned deep Scottish-inflected songspoken delivery, through the angelic purity of "Pseudo Silk Kimono", to the anguished howls of "Childhood's End?". It is always good when you can marry lyrics that have something to say with the instrumental side of things, it makes the whole package all the more powerful, and it is how brilliantly Marillion succeeded in this respect that in my mind qualifies this as such a masterpiece.

On the instrumental side of things, this album is also a real treat. The drums have improved since "Script", with Ian Mosley replacing Mick Pointer, are now being used really effectively to create atmosphere as well as take the lead. There are some truly gorgeous guitar leads, the ones on the singles ("Kayleigh","Lavender" and "Heart of Lothian"), being the ones that originally drew me into the album (though I stayed for the full album in the end). Some of the musical themes are repeated in the two long songs, which is very enjoyable and really helps to give this concept album a properly unified 'musical journey' feel. Even some of the bass lines hook you in, particularly in "Kayleigh" and "Childhood's End?".

So I realise I am just another voice singing the praises of this wonderful piece of music, but so be it, it is worth saying over and over. If you're ready for something that may well reach you on quite a personal level, give this a try.

5 stars, no question. This is the great man's masterpiece.

ScorchedFirth | 5/5 |

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