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3.11 | 478 ratings

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2 stars As far as I can remember (2001 or so), Marillon did use the Internet communication tool quite remarkably : newsletter, Front Row club, a great web-site. They have also had the brilliant ideas in their difficult years (from the next album onwards) to get their new projects pre-paid by their fans. To maintain the relation with them so tight as possible, Marillion organizes Marillion week- ends (the first in continental Europe took place this year).

I have to admit that their marketing strategy is extremely professional. No wonder then that even if those remote days (eight years fromnow), that was the title of one of their album.

In terms of musical content, the least I can say is that their last two albums were rather weak. "Radiation" and "Tales From The Engine Room" ranked amongst their poorer output (IMO of course, and I understand that there are others on this site) although I have had some hopes with "The Strange Engine" which was a kind of come back to the prog roots.

I was kind of hoping for a confirmation of this, but I won't get it here. The mood of the album goes from rock, even hard at times like in the opening number "A Legacy", "Rich" and "Built-in Bastard Radar" (almost heavy) to pop "Deserve", "Tumble Down The Years". There will also be some typical Marillion Mark II songs; meaning very tranquil, limit drowsiness like "Go", "Enlightened" (they should have been a little more) which at times sounds like The Buggles (or Yes in the "Drama" days if you prefer).

The last two numbers are rather extended, so there is still hope to get a song in the same vein that "The Strange Engine". But this hope (or wish) won't last for long. "Interior Lulu" develops over fifteen minutes of which the first four are difficult to go through (boredom, boredom). Then, all of a sudden, a short but extremely powerful instrumental break will boost the listener. The last nine minutes will be an exchange bewtween sleepy moments and great instrumental breaks (Rothery is very much inspired, I should say) which helps to make it a good track. But let's be realistic : this is not a great epic. By no means.

The closing number, clocking at over ten minutes, also starts like a classic Marillion Mark II song : emotionless and dull. Unfortunately, the same mood will prevail during the whole lenght of the track. Nothing to be excited. Long does not mean great.

This album is not the worse of the history of this line-up. Some easy listening music with little spirit, and these Hogarth vocals which have never been able to please me (and probably never will).

Two stars.

ZowieZiggy | 2/5 |


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