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Marillion - F E A R (F*** Everyone And Run) CD (album) cover





3.72 | 325 ratings

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2 stars Hm, no, I think here Marillion and I have ended up parting company.

Now, don't get me wrong. I appreciate that more laid-back and meditative sounds have always been part of the band's sound, and have been responsible for some of their grandest moments (as on parts of This Strange Engine or Marbles, for instance). Likewise, I also get that right from the debut album the group have never been afraid to do politics or social commentary

On the lyrical front, I was already put off a bit by how clumsy the lyrics on Sounds That Can't Be Made had been when dealing with social commentary or politics. It's not that I had no sympathy with the message of songs like Gaza - I just felt that the words used didn't really do justice to the extremely nuanced subject matter involved, and made it seem less like Hogarth was articulating an informed point of view and more like he was just sticking his oar in uninvited and unhelpfully. That trend has unfortunately continued here, and largely permeates the album.

Whereas previously Marillion managed to sound like firebrands out to condemn an unjust world in firey terms (as on Forgotten Sons) or to strive for a better one (as on Easter), by now they sound less like energetic radicals and more like grumpy, worn-out old relatives who grump in a reactionary way about how the world's all gone to pot since they were little 'uns but who don't offer any real way forward beyond a toxic mixture of bitterness, inward- looking self-obsession, and dreamy nostalgia for a past that never was. (This is a very Big Big Train approach, of course.)

Musically, everything feels just a bit flat and tired. Stylistically bits of the album could be passed off as missing bits from Brave, Afraid of Sunlight, This Strange Engine or Marbles, which in principle should be great because those are some of the most beloved high points of Hogarth-era Marillion, but in practice it just makes the whole thing feel like another exercise in going through the motions, shaking up the snow globe one more time to see if the snow will fall appreciably differently this time. The drums, in particular, seem particularly weak, Ian Mosley just kind of doing his bit and then wrapping up, whilst Steve Rothery's guitar solos and Mark Kelly's keyboard solos have succumbed entirely to self-plagiarism.

It's not a completely incompetent album, just an album which entirely fails to grab me and on balance probably doesn't need to exist. Change for change's sake is pointless, of course, but at the same time there's only so many times you can plough the same furrow before it begins to get a bit tired out, and "tired out" is exactly how I would describe Marillion's sound here.

Warthur | 2/5 |


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