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Marillion - Afraid of Sunlight  CD (album) cover

AFRAID OF SUNLIGHT

Marillion

 

Neo-Prog

3.79 | 483 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Marillion's 1995 release came out in the wake of their modern masterpiece Brave. While this album isn't as good or as inspired as Brave, there are certainly many great things going for the band at this point in their career. Afraid of Sunlight feels more like a loose concept based around discarded pieces from Brave than anything else, but the quality of these "throwaways" and the craft put into each individual song is fantastic, with every individual member of the group giving 100% of their effort on every song. The most notable thing about this album musically is that all the songs have little complexities and intricacies that make the album all the more unique.

The album opens with Gazpacho, a rather brooding tale about spousal abuse augmented by a slightly upbeat 6/4 guitar motif and an interesting and engaging 7/8 chorus. It's one of the stronger pieces on the album (usually Marillion's album openers are top notch anyway) and a nice example of how even after all these years Rothery can come up with interesting guitar riffs and heartwrenching guitar solos. Cannibal Surf Babe is a catchy throwaway number that has a very obvious Beach Boys influence in the intro and outro. It's got a groovy and snappy main riff and the chorus is even catchier with slurred lines from Hogarth (that don't bring down the song at all).

Beautiful had single potential written all over it (and the accompanying music video for it would also be their last and one of their best, Marillion were not a good music video band). It's a very beautiful (no pun intended) ballad with some more solid riffing from Rothery and an excellent vocal performance from Hogarth. Afraid of Sunrise is a gentle acoustic piece with an interesting 7/4 guitar theme and some wonderful fretless bass from Trewavas. This song is the first of two pieces on this album that have the lyrical theme of being "Afraid of Sunlight". Out of this World, along with Beyond You, are in my opinion the two weakest songs on the album. This song tends to feel forced a bit in length and tends to drag because of the excessive length.

Afraid of Sunlight is essentially the heavier version of Afraid of Sunrise. Rothery's solo on this track is spinechilling and brings back memories of his great guitar solos from the past. Beyond You is another overly long piece that doesn't travel at a smooth pace or even go anywhere at a decent speed. The weakest on this album, in my opinion. King ends the album (like most Marillion album closers) very well with some intense work from Rothery as well as some great floating synths from Kelly and some dynamic drumming from Mosley.

In the end, Afraid of Sunlight is the last truly great Marillion album of the 90s. Their future efforts had some truly sublime moments here and there, but they don't match this album in terms of quality and overall balance. This album, on the other hand, has a perfect blend of blend, tension, and relaxation. One of the better Hogarth albums in my humble opinion. 4/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 4/5 |

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