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Marillion - Marbles CD (album) cover





4.09 | 1079 ratings

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4 stars Having just done a Deadwing review, here's another recent one by a band with a much-anticipated new release. Widely heralded as the best album of the H era, this one is much beloved. I have heard the double release and the single. I do agree that this is Marillion's strongest since Afraid of Sunlight, but I don't think it's a masterpiece. It does find the boys stepping back from their search for Brit-alternative acceptance and embracing their progressive roots at times, which is refreshing. There are many standout tracks, the two long bookends being good examples. H milks the emotional potential of his concept very well, and the band utilizes their expertise in Floydian atmospheres very well.

I do not enjoy the single "You're Gone" at all; it sounds very middle of the road AOR to me, but without a good hook or guilty pleasure factor. It's the kind of thing you'd expect to hear in the background at a shopping mall. I'm glad it did well for them, but it ain't no "Beautiful". "Fantastic Place", "Don't Hurt Yourself" and the Marbles interludes, on the other hand, are great atmospheric pop tunes, something the band has been getting better and better at. As always, when Marillion tries to rock hard ("Drilling Holes"), they fail pretty miserably, in my opinion. They are much better at mid-tempo and moody, as on the double CD song "Ocean Cloud", which is easily the match of the best stuff on the single CD version and tells a compelling tale. Rothery's guitar playing really shines on this one. In fact, Marbles represents a sort of renaissance for him as a whole.

Marbles is a very good album. It takes what was good about nineties Marillion and mixes it with a healthy respect for the past, with a couple of missteps. What is best about it is that it re-establishes a signature sound that was established on Afraid of Sunlight, a kind of progressive pop that relies a lot on ethereal atmospheres, which I like a lot. For a band that many had written off, it is a triumph indeed. Hopefully they can keep up the good work while not catering too much to the current market.

Heptade | 4/5 |


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