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Marillion - Holidays in Eden  CD (album) cover

HOLIDAYS IN EDEN

Marillion

 

Neo-Prog

3.05 | 451 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars After Fish had left in 1988, Marillion was left on the rebound of a terrible loss. Fortunately, they got their act together and began auditions for a new vocalist. The vocalist that they chose was ex-Europeans/How We Live member (and almost milkman) Steve Hogarth. The first album they produced with Mr. Hogarth was Seasons End. One could already tell from Seasons End that this incarnation of Marillion was a poppier, more radio friendly one. The album that came out after Seasons End is the perfect summation of that aspect in the group. Holidays in Eden was Marillion's first album of the 90s and I must say it is one of their weakest. Gone are the extended passages about the fall of the Berlin Wall and in come songs about splintering hearts and rakes progressing. This album isn't terribly good, but that doesn't mean that there aren't some redeemable qualities. The musicians certainly play the material well, but it's the material itself that really hurts this album.

Splintering Heart begins the album with a buildup sequence of keyboards and unison drums/bass. Hogarth's heartfelt vocal is one of the better qualities of the song itself. Add in a clichéd introduction to a heavy section, Rothery's solo is as always emotional and straight from the heart. It's one of the better songs from the album. Cover My Eyes has some signature Rothery echo riffing and a catchy chorus. It's not progressive rock at all; you'll find quickly that this album's progressive moments are few and far between. It's not bad pop, but it's very un-Marillion. The Party features some creative work from Trewavas, but the song really goes nowhere fast. It's one of the more forgettable tracks on the album. No One Can is a mellow track with some nice keyboard work from Kelly. It's a pretty playful pop song with a nice clean guitar solo from Rothery.

The title track to this album is probably the most uninteresting track on the album. Beginning with the clichéd plane sound that was made famous in Back in the USSR, this song really goes nowhere fast. It is a on the longer side for this album, running at 5:28, and the band really draws out every riff presented here. The chorus is also pretty contrived and uninspired. Dry Land begins with a mellow, if not too mellow, riff. Another pop tune for the album, this song features another strong Steve Rothery guitar solo. Waiting to Happen is a keyboard based tune with some nice bass work from Trewavas. Another catchy chorus, and some more pop sensibilities and you have yourself this song. It's not bad, but not terribly good at the same time. This Town begins with some sirens and smooth drumming from Mosley. The chord progression is really cool and it has this late great dance feel to it. The chorus is also fun and playful, making this song one of the better pop songs on the album.

The Rakes Progress and 100 Nights end the album on a more progressive note. The first being a short little synth based song with some nice volume swells from Rothery. Rothery's riffing towards the end is the perfect introduction to the finale to the album. 100 Nights is the album closer, and it closes it on an uplifting note. The riff here reminds me a bit of Lavender for some reason I can't quite put my finger on. The ending to the song is also great, with some more spectacular work from Rothery.

Overall, Holidays in Eden is a transition piece for Marillion. It would be their most commercial effort, and their next album would totally redeem their progressive qualities. Their next album would also be one of their most depressing and heart wrenching releases. Anyway, Holidays in Eden isn't a bad pop album, but in term of progressiveness, there is a lot left to be answered. 2.5/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 2/5 |

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