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Marillion Sounds That Can't Be Made album cover
3.63 | 712 ratings | 23 reviews | 23% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2012

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Gaza (17:31)
2. Sounds That Can't Be Made (7:11)
3. Pour My Love (5:59)
4. Power (6:07)
5. Montréal (14:00)
6. Invisible Ink (5:44)
7. Lucky Man (6:54)
8. The Sky Above The Rain (10:34)

Total time 64:00

Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Hogarth / lead & backing vocals, keyboards, percussion
- Steve Rothery / lead & rhythm guitars
- Mark Kelly / keyboards
- Pete Trewavas / bass, electric guitar (6), backing vocals
- Ian Mosley / drums

- Diana Stanbridge / backing vocals
- Linette Petersen / backing vocals
- Nial Hogarth / backing vocals
- Sofi Hogarth / backing vocals
- Tracey Campbell / backing vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Simon Ward with Francesco De Comité

CD Ear Music ‎- ER202852 (2012, Europe)

Thanks to lugh for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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MARILLION Sounds That Can't Be Made ratings distribution

(712 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(23%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(37%)
Good, but non-essential (28%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

MARILLION Sounds That Can't Be Made reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Warthur
4 stars Living in the UK isn't without its advantages; it means, for instance, that when the pre-orders of Sounds That Can't Be Made got mailed out my copy arrived with great speed. I spent the whole weekend giving it an in-depth listen, and at the time felt that it was the top-flight followup to Marbles with Somewhere Else and Happiness Is the Road weren't (though to be fair to those albums, I don't think they were intended to be).

You can't, of course, predict how the passage of time will affect an album, though, and as I look back at Sounds with a bit more context I found some aspects more challenging. You could guess from a look at the track times that Marillion were back in one of their proggier moods this time around, with three songs at over 10 minutes (and the first song on the album a 17 minute monster!). These three songs are effectively the tentpoles that hold the album up, being long proggy pieces in the tradition of The Invisible Man or Neverland from Marbles. It's only after getting a bit of perspective that I've realised how much they are in the tradition of that album - not in the sense that this is an outright soundalike, of course, but it feels like Sounds attempted a similar return to prog-oriented songwriting that Marbles did.

Album opener Gaza might well prove to be one of the most controversial tracks of Marillion's career - not for its musical content, but for its lyrics and themes. Directly tackling the conflicts between Israel and the Palestinians is a profoundly difficult tightrope to walk, but to Steve Hogarth's credit his lyrics are unusually nuanced when it comes to rock songs about Gaza. It helps, I think that he's spent time talking to both Palestinians and Israelis (as he is careful to state in the album booklet) about the situation, and that though the lyrics show how a character born into a hopeless situation can be radicalised and turn to violence, at the same time it's fairly clear that H considers violent action utterly counter-productive at best, and directly contributing to the continuation and escalation of the cycle at worst ("For every hot-head stone ten come back").

As the song says, the situation documented has no easy answers ("nothing is ever simple"), and H is careful to note that there are "grieving mothers on both sides of the wire", and the main thrust of the song seems to be a lament that there have been so many generations of children born into and growing up in this conflict. I think on the whole these are sentiments that only the most hardline partisans in the conflict could disagree with, but I'm sure there'll be plenty of people from all sorts of backgrounds who find the song distasteful - some will say it's too sympathetic to the Palestinians, some will say it's not condemnatory enough of the Israelis, and so on. At the same time, I think Marillion were right to tackle the subject matter, since in many respects the song is a thematic descendant of Forgotten Sons from Script For a Jester's Tear - both taking a "peace first, ask questions later" approach to the conflicts they centre around.

Some may question the booklet's endorsement of the Hoping Foundation, which is an organisation whose declared aim is to fund projects providing aid to Palestinian children; it seems to be something of a prog cause celebre, with David Gilmour and Roger Waters having got together in 2010 to support it, but on the other hand I get very mixed messages about it when I try to research its position; I suppose this just illustrates how difficult the subject is.

My major problem with Gaza, actually - aside from the fact that the message seems to outweigh the music just a little - is that the more I listen to it, the more I become a little uncomfortable with the way that H sings the song from the point of view of a Palestinian resident of the area in question. Not only does this rather undermine the song's attempt to be at least somewhat neutral and acknowledge the problems on both sides (just how impartial can we really, credibly expect the song's narrator to be when they're right in the thick of it?), but it also seems to be an attempt by H to identify with the protagonist of a song which kind of worked on Brave (partly because H was singing about a British girl growing up in a culture he was part of and could observe from the inside) but feels somehow kind of presumptuous here. Forgotten Sons issued its criticism from the mouth of a third party; Gaza claims to be speaking for someone involved in the conflict, but I think if Marillion really wanted local people to have a voice, they'd promote the voices and music of people from Gaza rather than trying to step in and be that voice. Peter Gabriel did a great art rock protest song with Biko, but he didn't presume to speak as Biko.

The rest of the album is somewhat less heavy going. The middle tentpole, Montreal, is a 14 minute tribute to the city written as an account of one of the band's visits there on tour. This does risk being self-indulgent, a gushy blog post in the form of a song, a "thank you" that would perhaps work better as a fan club special release rather than the centrepiece of an album. That said, the general theme of discovering a city which is so welcoming and so supportive of you that it feels like a home away from home means at least goes some small way towards delivering something a bit more thematically deep than "thank you Montreal, we love our Canadian Marillion weekends".

Nonetheless, H is at his best when he is singing songs that, even if they are about a specific subject (Estonia, Out of This World, Easter, etc.) can touch on something a bit more universal, but Montreal is so personal that it feels difficult to connect to; listening to the song certainly tells me how it feels to be Steve Hogarth visiting Canada for a Marillion weekend, but that is an absurdly specific experience and I'm not sure why anyone who isn't Steve Hogarth or another Marillion band member would ever care.

Closing number The Sky Above the Rain is an exploration of relationship difficulties and lack of communication, where the two protagonists are a woman who's stopped loving her partner but doesn't want to talk about it and the man in question, who's desperate to communicate about it and despises living a lie. Fairly regular subject matter for Marillion, and for neo-prog, and for grumpy dadrock for flabby-bottomed divorcees in general.

All three of the tentpole songs are packed with the sort of treats that usually satisfy Marillion fans - including me - on the instrumental side of things with Mark Kelly's keyboard soundscapes and Steve Rothery's guitar solos given their usual spotlight. As for the shorter songs, the most notable one is probably Pour My Love, which features lyrics from John Helmer, who helped H out with the lyrics for the albums from Seasons' End to and makes a welcome return here to provide the words for this rather soulful song - I don't think it's quite the "Marillion meets Prince" song that it's been described as but it's certainly creeping in that direction. The band don't seem to have been tempted to include any songs which don't support the generally fairly progressive tone of the album, with even lead single Power having some occasionally rather Steve Hackett-sounding guitar from Steve Rothery (who offers his own take on Hackett's distinctive "weeping guitar" sound at points).

In short, if you're a fan of H-era Marillion and consider Marbles to be one of their better albums, you're highly likely to see this one as a return to form at first. As with many H-era albums, it impressed me at first, then I fell out of love with it a bit, then it grew on me again. I wouldn't put it on the top tier of the Hogarth albums with Brave, Afraid of Sunlight, and Marbles, but it's not that far below those rarefied heights, particularly if I tune out the lyrics and focus on the lush musical backing on those songs where I think the lyrics get too self-indulgent.

Review by lazland
4 stars Sounds That Can't Be Made is the seventeenth studio album by the band who, when they started their long road in the 1980's, were once considered as the leading lights of a new wave of prog, and who, latterly, have created a cottage industry and business model (based around the web and a ridiculously loyal group of fans) that is the envy of many artists.

My first ever review for this site was the band's last studio album of original material, Happiness Is the Road. In a rush of utter fandom, I awarded it the maximum five stars. Now, with over 200 reviews to my name, I can look back and see that this was mistaken. HITR is an excellent album, but it is not a masterpiece when one judges it by the criteria we use on this site, certainly when you compare it to Brave & Marbles, the two albums that the Hogarth era has produced that could genuinely be given that description.

So, where are this great band, who I unashamedly call my favourite band, now?

In this review, I will go a little back to front, as it were, and commence with the final track, The Sky above the Rain. One of three tracks that clock in in excess of ten minutes (the shortest of the eight tracks is 5:47 minutes long), it is built around a very gentle Mark Kelly piano loop. What follows is a piece of music that demonstrates the power of music, and, yes, progressive rock music, to move one, and to reduce otherwise sober people, to tears. As with tracks such as Invisible Man, Sky.. Is a track in which Hogarth bears his soul. The story, and what a story, revolves around a loving couple who still adore each other, who have clearly been through the full and complete journey that most couples make in life. Except, she, who still loves him, doesn't want him physically. He still wants her physically, still loves her, and so puts up with the situation, because "what else can he do?" He yearns for the clear blue sky, above the cloud that dominates his present life, the blue sky that signifies happiness and a life that is complete.

As with all the finest Hogarth lyrics, his four colleagues rise to the occasion with aplomb. This is a performance that is wrought with feeling, from the aforementioned Kelly loop, to Rothery, who plays with such feeling that it is impossible not to be carried away, to a rhythm section that carries all with it. When the song descends into the quiet of Kelly's piano, you pause for breath. And then, as a complete surprise, the track bursts into its outré, a symphonic piece of pure majestic sound that has the subject yearning for his blue sky, his happiness, his soul, and his life.

I regard this track as the finest this great band have ever released, it is that good. It is a majestic piece of music. It is so utterly, and achingly, beautiful that you really do wonder at the genius that produced it.

So, is the rest a let-down in comparison? Not a bit of it. The opener, Gaza, is, of course, the one that has attracted the most "debate", and the band are on record for their concern that it might alienate more than a few people.

Political comment is not, of course, a new thing for the band. Fish positively oozed it. I always regarded Hogarth, though, as a little more subtle ? witness the incredible Easter from his first album with the band. And so it is with Gaza. I have, for many years, despaired at former "comrades" in the Labour Movement with their blind adherence to the "Palestinian Good, Israeli Bad" mantra, never realising the utter irony of left wing activists wishing to destroy a Jewish state.

Hogarth avoids this completely, for his lyrics are a humanitarian cry, written from the child's viewpoint of growing up in utter poverty, with the reality of death all around, whilst also making an intelligent nod to the fact that every stupid and pointless weapon thrown will result in tens more sent back. When he cries that "To live like this, it just ain't right", he is spot on the mark, because it isn't right. It is not, however, as simple as that politically, and that is where Hogarth gets it spot on, because a child simply doesn't understand the politics, he or she just knows that there is no hope, and cries out for a better life. Musically, it is a seventeen plus minute prog epic. The Rothery solo thirteen minutes in is to die for, whilst I don't think that Ian Mosley has ever been so dramatic and forceful on his drum kit. The whole piece cries out with sound, and the very knowing and intricate Middle Eastern sounds incorporated are very welcome and represent an intelligent move forward for this band.

The title track follows, and is, to me, simply the finest moment that Mark Kelly has ever had with this band. It is said, by the great man himself, that he will spend a whole day tinkering with one tiny sound in order to get that note right. Well, thank God for pedantry, because this whole track is built around his keyboards, and they have never sounded so lush. Hogarth himself gives a purposeful performance, whilst the remainder of the band collaborate to provide a massive backdrop.

Pour My Love is the one track where I pause a little to think. It doesn't seem to fit in well with all else around it. It marks the lyrical return of John Helmer (it is an old lyric), and has an almost funky feel to it. Enjoyable, but not classic.

Power is one of those tracks that the Hogarth era has produced so well. It is well in the vein of commercial tracks of the past, such as You're Gone, and was the first track released to the world via the band's website. Hugely enjoyable, and, as with a lot of similar tracks, comes out better in the live experience.

Montreal is basically a blog of the Marillion Weekend (a fan event featuring a number of live sets over a weekend, and where Marillion nuts can immerse themselves in their beloved obsession) set to music, and what stunning music it is. A definite collective effort, it provides us with a loving pastiche of a city, and set of people (fans and others) to whom the band clearly love and appreciate, whilst also giving us an insight into the wrench of leaving loved ones behind. In its feel, it is perhaps the closest track on the album to Happiness Is the Road, which is no bad thing at all. Kelly again shines, Rothery's touches are loving, Mosley thumps out, whilst Trewavas proves once again just why he is the finest bass player in the game at present, utilising his instrument as a lead. At fourteen minutes, this is another prog epic from a band who were supposed to have left such things behind when a certain Scot walked into the wilderness. That was always nonsense, and this album proves it so.

Invisible Ink is a deceptively simple track, which begins with a Hogarth monologue underwritten by some extremely good keyboard work, and is, again, a track which would have sat comfortably on Happiness Is the Road. When, two minutes in, the track bursts into life, it becomes one of those infuriatingly catchy foot-tapping numbers that the band has always done so well.

Lucky Man just about says it all for me. This is a very personal account by lyricist and band, with a musical backdrop instantly recognisable as Marillion, of just how fortunate a position they find themselves in. It is the story, set to music, of how they can continue to make creative music free from the shackles of record company interference, how they are fortunate enough to have a fearsomely loyal set of fans, how they have financial stability, and personal joy. In fact, this track is just about the perfect summary of the band in 2012, and I imagine it will also be a good hit live (it was not on the setlist I saw earlier this month). The riffs themselves are uplifting, and, all in all, this is the sort of track that would cheer up the most miserable day.

So, how to rate such an album? Well, it is easily their best since the immense genius that was Marbles. It is an extremely consistent album, one that combines some exceptional pieces of music with some enjoyable pieces, and manages to fit them together into one seamless whole, in much the same way as both Afraid of Sunlight and the criminally undervalued Radiation did.

This album is not a work of genius in the same way as Brave & Marbles were. Having said that, for a band to even produce one such masterpiece, let alone two, is a rare thing. What this album is, though, believe me, is the sound of a band still forging ahead creatively and emotionally after well over 20 years as this particular collective. It is the sound of a band not afraid to court controversy, not afraid to open their hearts (both musically & lyrically), and still, very proudly, at the heart of Britain and the world's progressive rock movement. Those, in my opinion, are reasons enough for us to count our blessings.

Four stars for this, a truly excellent piece of work, and one that I cannot recommend highly enough, and 4.5 stars if we had such a rating on this site.

Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Bands, artists and 'owners' in general tend to criticize the illegal downloads for low numbers on sells and they blame that same thing for bands being 'shrinked' at some level.

In fact, what make albums sell less is the lack of quality, now we have options, we can download something, listen, and then say if our money will be well spent or not in that particular record.

That's why some bands, specially the big ones, never present more than one song when they're on studio recording a new album, like MARILLION did with 'Power' few months ago. And that's why many many bands, like MARILLION again, do those 'pre-order' kind of thing with 'gifts' and want us to believe that will help to finance the album, even when the band owns the studio where it were recorded...

I was listening and listening and wondering where the great music lies in this album that a bunch of people claim to have. And the text I started this text is explained now, cause if I could listen this album before buy it, I would never buy. And many people would do the same, and will do the same in the next months. And that's the exact kind of thing that they want to hide with the political right speech most of the time. I was avoiding to listen it for some time and now I know why, in the back of my head I knew it wasn't worth of attention. Specially after that lame excuse to an album that Not The Weapon But The Hand (2012) is.

Progressive Rock today don't have any guts anymore, there's no sound anymore, just a bunch of pop produced material wrapped on pseudo Prog elements. Exactly like on Sounds That Can't Be Made (2012). Poor in songwritting, poor in tones, specially poor in vocals, poor in lyrics and the worst, the album fails in make you feel interested in what they're playing. Those things are made very clear on 'Gaza', 'Pour My Love' and 'Montreal'. At least 'Invisible Ink' and 'The Sky Above The Rain' are not so bad.

Maybe STEVEN WILSON helped them to write and produce the album, this would explain a lot why is so bad...

Review by Tristan Mulders
3 stars New Marillion album out. This used to be one of the musical highlights of my year, but not quite as much the last couple of years since "Happiness Is The Road." Although I'm feeling far more positive about this new release than about "Happiness is the Road" and the uninspired "More Is Apparently The Superior," I can't say I'm that much impressed with their latest album... In fact, I dare to say that, had I not been a fan for so many years before, and someone would have recommended it to me, I, amid the bulk of more refreshing and interesting sounding artists I get recommended lately, probably would harvest a song or 2-3 and discard the rest by now...

Okay, I realize this sounds a bit too harsh, for I know their music always takes some time to grow on me, and the music does sound well-produced and well-written, but it does not 'do' much for me so far, unlike when I first heard, e.g. "Marbles," or "Somewhere Else" (at a press listening party in Fame, Amsterdam at that).

'Gaza' feels like a melting pot of musical ideas, but it is far less fragmented than, and yes I'll blaspheme here for a little, 'This Strange Engine,' which I always found rather segmented. On 'Gaza,' at least, I felt that the various segments were quite exciting, as is the lyrical content about an infant's view on the Palestine conflict. The whole piece feels quite passionate and energetic, which I quite missed in their music since "Somewhere Else." Especially the "It just ain't right" bit felt like a-class, properly-developed Marillion, but on a whole the song is just a melting pot of too many ideas for one listen -and incidentally that thought popped into my head a bit too frequently while listening...

"Montreal" starts to become interesting far too late, about halfway through, and is not remotely up to par to their other longer suites, which have far more going for them. It's such a pity that this song also suffers from clear cuts in between its segments, but unlike 'Gaza,' the various sections are not as interesting. Plus after spending fourteen minutes listening to a diary-like story that already does not quite hit home and feels a bit dreary for the first 5 minutes or so, it is particularly unfair to cut the song off with an uninspired fade-out, and an extremely brief one at that!

What DID excite me a lot were the return of some incredible guitar solos, and Pete's bass lines sound phenomenal if you listen to the album on headphones. I also loved the use of more electronics on quite a bit of the music, however, Mark Kelly contrasted this with the same type of Casio presets (most noticeably on 'Montreal') that he's been using as part of their music since the 80s. Perhaps 30 years later it might seem the proper time to let those go? Yes, that's what some might call progression? And, for the love of God, will someone please break into their studio and destroy the effect pedals that are responsible for those horrific 'Asylum Satellite One' special FX that Rothery seems to use A LOT these days. Completely ruins what sounds like could be a great solo at the end of the album... (And incidentally, the guitar halfway through the last song is remarkably reminiscent of Snow Patrol's classic pop song 'Run,' though I don't dislike it here).

The result was that, in retrospect, the only song I felt was a proper Marillion classic -whether or not this sense of familiarity I felt with this song is a good sign? I know I still like it a lot!- is "Power". Great vocals, filled with a nice touch of drama at times, a good build-up, great bridge and closing section, and nice guitars. The title track sounds better upon repeated listening, but that piece of pop music that follows it sounds so run-down-the-mill that I fail to see why it is included among the other more mature-sounding pieces of music. These men can do so much better. 'Pour My Love' sounds good, but it is so trivial I fail to see the point. 'Lucky Man' is similarly un-progressive, but at least it is a good quality rock anthem-like song.

Overall, I feel like this is either one of those cases where there's much to be discovered on "Sounds That Can't Be Made" by repeated listening, or it really is simply an example of too many ideas cramped into an album that, at over 70 minutes long, already feels a bit stretched out. So far, and the album has been on repeat, I'm rooting for the first of these two things to happen. And, last, but not least, the music presented here stirred an appetite to write a review after such a long time. That has to count for something, I'd say.

Review by kev rowland
3 stars There are certain bands where fans say that they prefer this era of the band or that, and while I can honestly say that I enjoy all periods of Genesis the same cannot be said for Spock's Beard or as in this case, Marillion. I still have the single 'Market Square Heroes' (and the next four or five releases) on 12" and lapped up everything the band was doing, and when 'Misplaced Childhood' came out I played it again, and again, and again. But then Fish left. I eagerly made my way to Wembley Arena to see them in concert on their first tour with 'H', but after Little Angels had proved themselves to be the better live band I was devastated. What had happened to the group I loved so much?

Over the years I have seen them in concert again, and have also purchased all of their studio albums, hoping that one day I would be able to yet again feel how I did about this band back in the Eighties. The line-up has stayed the same all those years, Pete Trewavas has done some great stuff with Transatlantic, and I have always rated Kelly and Rothery, so where are we in 2012? Well, they kick things off with the longest song on the album, "Gaza" which is more than seventeen minutes long and is one of three that are more than ten. Lyrically this is a challenging area as well, so it seemed like were off to a good start. There is some good guitar, and symphonic keyboards, but my attention soon drifted and before I knew it the album was over and I couldn't remember anything about it.

So, I put it on again and found that when I really listened there is a lot going on, but again I was easily distracted and realised that the biggest problem was that I was getting bored. But if you read the comments on the web many people are saying that this is their best album for years, but to my ears how much is that actually saying? They are very good at what they do, but it's not what I really want to listen to. So three stars because it isn't poor enough to get two, but I doubt if I will be coming back to it in a hurry.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Marillion's latest release "Sounds That Can't Be Made" is a relaxing well performed experience that has some very gentle melancholy songs and at times the inspired excellence that one has come to expect of the band, though it is not consistent. Over the years the changes in the band's lineup and sound are remarkable. The band have really settled into a serene style with patient stillness in the music that builds into majestic sweeping arrangements.

As usual there is the stirring voice of Steve Hogarth and the wonderful keyboard prowess of Mark Kelly. Bassist extraordinaire Pete Trewavas is always integral to the sound and especially the lead work of Steve Rothery, backed by massive percussive rhythms by Ian Mosley.

The album sails along nicely with songs such as epic length Gaza (17:31), and the incredibly emotional Montreal (14:00). These are perhaps more progressive in structure than the more poppier Invisible Ink (5:44) or Lucky Man (6:54). Nothing really jumps out to me as a masterpiece track though, as it all feels very similar in style. The closer The Sky Above The Rain (10:34) is certainly another high point of the album musically, a love song with nice piano and soaring guitars, especially the ending, but again I did not feel anything on the album measured up to some of the genius work of the past. The chorus's feel like power ballads, the instrumental breaks are not as dextrous as they could be, there is not enough innovation and I can hardly tell one song from the next; it all just blends into a dreamy 70 minutes, great music to sleep to but not that enjoyable to listen to on repeat visits.

It is a good album, tailor made for those who love Neo Prog, but it was all a bit too relaxed for my liking and none of the melodies jumped out. It perhaps will not disappoint Marillion fans, but I was expecting something along the lines of the masterpieces of The Flower Kings' "Banks of Eden" or other albums of late that have blown me away. Marillion have been around long enough to produce something special, and they have demonstrated this potential, but the songs on this album just float along on one relaxing style and the musicianship is fairly standard for a keyboard dominated band. Try it before you buy it, is my advice as this is a standard Neo prog album; good but not essential listening.

Review by J-Man
5 stars As 2012 is entering into its final stretch, I can confidently say that Marillion have provided me with some of this year's finest memories. I had the pleasure of seeing them perform an inspired and purely magical concert in Philadelphia this June, I've rediscovered some of the band's classic albums and gained an entire new appreciation for them, and to top it all off, they've also released one of their strongest albums in recent memory with Sounds That Can't Be Made. From my perspective, this has been a great year for Marillion (without even mentioning Steve Hogarth's killer collaboration album with Richard Barbieri released earlier in 2012), and anybody who's been 'on the fence' about the band's recent material owes it to themselves to check out Sounds That Can't Be Made. In what I can only call the band's strongest effort since the 1994 masterpiece that was Brave, Sounds That Can't Be Made is a breath of fresh air in the modern progressive rock scene that offers the introspective sound that Marillion has become known for, as well as a few more progressive twists than we may have come to expect from the band recently.

Although Marillion have generally distanced themselves from any form of 'traditional' neo-prog in recent years, the band's fragile and emotional style of rock music has appealed to me greatly on albums like Happiness Is The Road; that album may have been met with fairly mixed criticisms, but the meticulous attention to atmosphere grew on me to the point where I consider it a truly great observation. Sounds That Can't Be Made focuses on the same sort of subtle beauty and intense ambiance as its predecessor, while incorporating more progressive twists and bombastic atmospheres. This is still an extremely mellow listen compared to most prog bands on the scene today, but the exceptional songwriting and brilliant arrangement makes it no less satisfying. Sounds That Can't Be Made may take a few listens to 'click', but it's the sort of album that leaves a huge impression when given the time it deserves - I still find myself discovering new subtleties with every listen, and the emotional impact of some of these tunes rivals the best material that Marillion has ever produced.

My first experience with Sounds That Can't Be Made was through "Power", the single released some time before the album's actual release date. The thick bassline and powerful chorus immediately grabbed my attention, and by the time I heard the entire album, I was actually really impressed. Tasty musicianship and professional compositions are to be expected from Marillion at this point, but this album had an extra edge that really set it apart from the band's other material. The epic songwriting and thought-provoking lyrics in "Gaza" shows Marillion taking their art to a new plateau, "Montreal" is one of my favorite songs in the band's entire discography, and "The Sky Above The Rain" is a perfect example of a 'goosebump song' - whether I want it to or not, Steve Rothery's soulful leads and Hogarth's mesmerizing vocal performance never fail to send chills up my spine. This trio of epics accurately represents Sounds That Can't Be Made's highlights, and although "Lucky Man" doesn't do a whole lot for me, the entire seventy-four minute running time is captivating and powerful.

Sounds That Can't Be Made may not have an ambitious concept like Brave does or the same classic potential that the Fish-era recordings have, but the quality of the release alone is enough to have it regarded as a high point in Marillion's career. A remarkably strong effort indeed, Sounds That Can't Be Made has been on my rotation for dozens of spins now, and it still packs a massive punch every time I take it out for a listen. I think Marillion fans will be delighted to hear this one, and folks who haven't been too enthusiastic about other recent albums may also want to check it out - this is one of the strongest albums that these British legends have ever released for sure! While it would probably take an album crafted by some supernatural force to dethrone Brave and Clutching at Straws (for me, at least), Sounds That Can't Be Made is the next closest thing. In a few short words, Sounds That Can't Be Made is an essential landmark in Marillion's discography - and all I have left to say is "well done, gentlemen!".

Review by Prog Leviathan
3 stars For a band like Marillion, now with seventeen studio releases in their library, there is bound to be a lot to love... and a lot dislike. Even in the past three releases I've found myself captivated, inspired, disappointed, and now with Sounds That Can't Be Made, bored. This, despite the album's stellar production values and layers of musicianship... it's just a boring album.

The set-piece, a 17 minute opus that blends styles and inspiration into a surprisingly heavy and ominous composition, comes across as disjointed and unengaging. The band sounds great, but the song didn't grab me or leave me with much to walk away with. It's an experiment, and I respect Marillion for trying something like it, but it doesn't play to their strengths. Over rated and off-putting.

The better songs are those like the title track, "Pour My Love," "Power," and "Invisible Ink," which are extended art-pop pieces that feature the band's slinky cool and thoughtful playing. Rothery has a handful of great solos, and the rhythm section specifically stands out especially strong throughout. These few songs also have poetic and thoughtful lyrics by Hogarth.

Speaking of H, Hogarth does his vocal shtick well, giving us his characteristically interesting phrasing and emotional delivery. However, like the songwriting overall, there are no real passages that stuck with me because of the density and triteness of the lyrics in almost every other track on this album. Many songs are crammed with words, and too many of them are banal and unambitious. "Gaza," "Lucky Man," and the painfully bad "Montreal" are so uncreative and pandering that it actually took me three listens to make it through this album.

The handful of good tracks and the band's musicianship rescue the album from a 2-star rating, but that's being generous. Sounds That Can't Be Made is a collection of Marillion moments that sometimes coalesce into interesting songs, but more often overstay their welcome in lengthy and uninspired songs. As a huge fan I get a lot of enjoyment listening to the band play the instrumental passages, that's about it. Vastly inferior to the momentous Marbles or Brave; this album feels like This Strange Engine with higher production values. Let's see if the guys can rebound next time.

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: 2 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

Review by The Crow
3 stars After the massively underrated Happiness is the Road, Marillion managed to release another solid album.

In terms of production, the band never sounded better because all instruments are clear and pristine. Maybe the Trewavas's bass could have had a bit more protagonism, but it's ok nevertheless. And It's incredible to check that after 25 years in Marillion, Steve Hogarth's voice is still in top form!

It's a pity that this guy has so an affected and studied pose on stage, because he has one of the best prog-rock voices in my humble opinion. But let's talk about the songs in Sounds That Can't be Made.

Gaza starts the album in an incredible way, achieving of the band's highlights. An impressive song with strong lyrics, heavy guitars and great progression. Together with acts like The Invisible Man and This Strange Engine, Gaza is without a doubt one of the best songs of Hogarth's era. Just a must hearing track for every prog lover.

Sadly Sounds taht Can't be Made can't maintain this quality level with its silly text and boring melodies. Just too repetitive and dull, except for the great guitars towards the end. Pour My Love is a song in the style of the worst tracks in Radiation and Just forgettable and the lowest moment in the whole album. This trip-hop influences... Just lame.

Luckily the rythmic Power raises our souls with its beautiful keyboards and good Trewavas work, while Montreal is another highlight of the album despite its mundane lyrics. A gift for the fans showing the most variable and prog side of the band. Invisible Ink is a beautiful little song in the vein of the most intimate compositions of Happiness is the Road. Lovely despite (or thank to) it's simplicity.

Lucky Man is solid, but a bit repetitive for my taste despite the powerful Hogarth's singing. The Sky above the rain closes the album brilliantly, with its beautiful lyrics and increasing intensity. It's a song perfect and effective to be played live, but with a too much Hogarth's protagonism. Another little classic from this album!

Conclusion: Sounds that Can't be Made is clearly not one a peak in the band's history, but it's still a very solid release from a veteran band which refuses to live from the past and it's always exploring new paths to expand their music. This album is not so good and surpising like the previous Happiness is the Road, but easily surpases other Marillion's efforths. It has three wonderful songs (maybe four), and the rest is also pretty enjoyable if not memorable with the exception of the forgettable Pour My Love.

Good work, guys!

Best Tracks: Gaza, Montreal, The Sky above the Rain.

My rating: ***

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars In my opinion MARILLION haven't been a Neo-Prog band since "Seasons End" back in 1989, the first album Hogarth sang on after Fish was kicked out. That album was pretty much written with Fish in mind so there's that. I love "Seasons End" mainly I think because I have spent my life in a tourist town and when Summer ends you used to know it when we were a small town, not so much now. "Misplaced Childhood" and "Seasons End" are on my list of all time favourite Neo-Prog albums. Here, like the many albums before we get Progressive Rock that is extremely well done as usual. The band are almost Adult Contemporary at times with several songs being quite mellow with the chorus being where they amp it up some. This album is long, too long.

So many highlights but the title track, "Montreal" and "Lucky Man" stand out for me as the best. The latter is all about the chorus and those meaningful words that I completely agree with "I have everything that I want". "Gaza" rubs me the wrong way big time as my brothers in Israel know a little bit about being a target over their thousands of years in existence. The band have stated they are not anti-Israeli but they are missing the big picture here completely. And they have lost fans over this as stated on the fan based web site. Instrumentally this is a great track though. The only tune I'm really not into is "Invisible Ink". By the way "Montreal" is one of their best songs, especially that instrumental section from 5 minutes to 6 1/2 minutes.

Review by A Crimson Mellotron
5 stars Marillion's love album? To an extent, it certainly is one of these records. 2012's 'Sounds That Can't Be Made' is the band's 17th studio album, and for many, it represents the genesis of what could be considered the band's most brilliant and most mature phase; it surely does for me. After the triplet of releases received with more mixed reviews ('Somewhere Else', 'Happiness Is the Road' and 'Less Is More'), the band enter the 2010s with a most gorgeous, rich, melodic and cerebrally emotional collection of new songs, showing either their most political side, or their most romantic one.

Eight striking new compositions, clocking in at around 74 minutes, 'Sounds That Can't Be Made' gives the listeners their first impression through the very elegant cover art, with the shell-like golden element in the center and the binary data on the side. Then the album begins with the 17-minute epic 'Gaza', one of the most powerful songs in the band's entire catalogue, it is also their most political one, commenting on the Gaza strip, famously through the eyes of a boy growing up there - the vivid images depicted by Steve Hogarth's divine vocal performance on this track are absolutely fascinating; The entire band, moreover, is performing dramatically well, with the weeping guitars and the cinematic keyboards, it is all working just perfectly well, as Marillion propose one of the most impressive epics of the whole decade. This one is followed by the dreamy title track, another very emotive piece, full of twists and turns, it leaves the listener in some wonderful awe, simply one of the most beautiful songs you could ever stumble upon. Here, once again, Steve Hogarth shines all along with his unprecedented vocals, the man is always living the songs, as the beauty of his singing throughout the whole record brings tears to my eyes every time. Next up is the gorgeous 'Pour My Love', another one of Marillion's masterworks, a very soothing and otherworldly experience. 'Power' is another incredibly well written song - majestic and inspiring, this song is all about the story that unfolds, told beautifully by h, who is singing his heart out on this one. It has to be mentioned that his lyrics on this album are quite cathartic, very intelligent, relatable, and exquisitely beautiful.

The 14-minute 'Montréal' is next up on the track list, another joyous, elegant and vibrant composition by the band, 'Sounds That Can't Be Made' is entirely flawless up to this point. The sixth entry on the album is 'Invisible Ink', a song that feels like a painting, quite lovely and entirely gentle, this is one of the lesser-known gems in the band's discography. 'Lucky Man' has to be the proggiest out of all the songs, with the jumpy keys and the upbeat bass playing, we could say it somehow reminisces some of those Fish albums, as well as 'Seasons End', surely a surprise given the way the rest of the record sounds. Finally, there is the 10-minute 'The Sky Above the Rain', a slow-paced love song that gives the album its very tranquil ending.

A fantastic album from start to finish, tremendously well-written and gorgeously performed, it has a really contemporary, forward-thinking edge to it, as I already said, marking the beginning of one of Marillion's most exciting phases, if not the most exciting one. Not only a recommended listen, but a mandatory one - 'Sounds That Can't Be Made' is one of the masterpieces of symphonic art rock.

Latest members reviews

5 stars 'Sounds That Can't Be Made' is the 17th studio album by Marillion, released on 17 September 2012. The album opens with the epic, 17-minute "Gaza." This is one of the heaviest songs by Marillion, not only musically, but lyrically too. "Gaza" is among the most overtly political Marillion songs, along ... (read more)

Report this review (#2981087) | Posted by Magog2112 | Tuesday, January 9, 2024 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I was one of those who were rather disapppointed with Marillion's album. The production is great, yes. Gaza starts like a thunderstorm, and Power has a modern feel to it that Somewhere Else had nowhere near in its whole existence. But that s about it, after all. The Sky Above The Rain has wonderf ... (read more)

Report this review (#1453922) | Posted by onlineman | Monday, August 17, 2015 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I've mentioned more than once that 2012 has been an exceptional year for new music in the prog world, with stunning releases from Rush and 3rDegree, among others. Even now, in December, I've got a fresh stack of discs that includes 2012 releases from Anglagard, Aranis, Big Big Train, and Mahogany ... (read more)

Report this review (#1453705) | Posted by RaelWV | Sunday, August 16, 2015 | Review Permanlink

1 stars I cannot listen to this album one more time. After numerous increasingly unsatisfactory listens, I spent last several nights listening to it carefully with my headphones, trying to pick any hidden treasures. To no avail. Pieces are artifically elongated, musically poor (lyrics even poorer), form ... (read more)

Report this review (#1270381) | Posted by Sanki | Friday, September 5, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars After suffering through initial listens of both TAAB2 and Homo Erraticus, I was soothed by playing this emotive and passionate new offering from Marillion. I, for one, was never a fan of the 80's neo-prog (read neo-Genesis) movement and always found the H era band to be a breath of fresh air. Wh ... (read more)

Report this review (#1173204) | Posted by SteveG | Friday, May 9, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Sounds That Can't Be Made is Marillion's first album of original material since the double effort that was 2008's Happiness Is The Road Volumes 1 & 2. It seems the four year break did them good, because they returned with an album that is much more focused; Sounds That Can't Be Made is a single col ... (read more)

Report this review (#978376) | Posted by FunkyM | Saturday, June 15, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Sounds That Can't Be Made is Marillion's 17th studio album. It's a very strong album considering that the band is so far into their career, however, the band has already proved that they can keep the quality of their newer albums up with Marbles. But that was 8 years ago, and Sounds That Can't Be Ma ... (read more)

Report this review (#887491) | Posted by zeqexes | Friday, January 4, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars All the albums after MARBLES I considered to be quite disappointing, so I didn't expect too much from the new album. After several listenings, however, I think that the album is quite an inmprovement to the former CDs. Gaza is musically interesting, but in my opinion it lacks coherence. There are ma ... (read more)

Report this review (#843346) | Posted by sean_y | Tuesday, October 23, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Steve Hogarth and company have managed an interesting trick on Sounds That Can't Be Made, a record that's both maudlin ("Pour My Love" and "Lucky Man" being the most obvious examples) and stridently political (opener, and longest track, "Gaza"). Meaning, on the whole, Sounds doesn't quite gel. "Gaza ... (read more)

Report this review (#834286) | Posted by progressouno | Sunday, October 7, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The troubled one. I've been looking forward to this album so much that, after all the positive reactions that it already received on the net, I'm rather troubled about it than really happy - now that I finally got it. On 'Sounds that can't be made', Marillion start to paint with thicker colo ... (read more)

Report this review (#826037) | Posted by rupert | Saturday, September 22, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Four listens so far and this album has the feel of something special. The best I can discern is this is a concept album based on human emotions and Hogarth is a master of eliciting them from us with his lyrics and Rothery is a master of eliciting them from us with his guitar. I don't usuall ... (read more)

Report this review (#825046) | Posted by Byrneie | Thursday, September 20, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Marillion are one of those bands that have continued quietly to produce astounding music for the last couple of decades without the need to try to bother the charts with huge sales or satisfy record company execs with the conbtent of their records. The result is that they have often produced ama ... (read more)

Report this review (#820608) | Posted by Headlong | Friday, September 14, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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