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Marillion - Marbles CD (album) cover





4.09 | 1079 ratings

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4 stars The unending surprises are what makes Progland so exhilarating, never quite knowing what new (or old) album will leap out of the blue and grab your attention by the scruff of the ears and take you on a magical mystery tour. I stopped following Marillion after This Strange Engine, more because there were so many more fish (pun intended) to fry in discovering prog acts. I have paid scarce attention to the lukewarm comments, editorials and assorted other stories about their flirtation with more commercial pop-prog. So I found this used copy of Marbles and since it was bandied about as another "Brave", I took the 12 dollar plunge. Briefly, this album has hijacked my CD player ever since, thoroughly enchanted by the rather clever music, the enthralling atmosphere and the capture of my admiration. I was being hypnotized slyly right from the sublime intro , "The Invisible Man" , a 13 minute marathon of wispy atmospherics, feverish vocals and simply grand melodic hooks that successfully blur the line between accessible and complex. The single album (there is a double CD that is The prize, allegedly) is book-ended by another epic piece, the blisteringly passionate "Neverland". In between, brief "Marbles" intervals serve as interludes between longer pieces, mostly well-crafted, hook-laden pop-prog such as "Angelina", "Don't Hurt Yourself", "Fantastic Place" and "Drilling Holes". There can be little argument that these gents are superb musicians, Rothery has proven over decades that he is a true master 6- stringer, capable of enflaming even the slightest flicker into a paroxysm of sonic delight, Mosley is a premier drummer of impeccable stamina and precision, Trewavas is a stellar bass player and Kelly paints the keyboards with unrestrained glee, never the show-off. Hogarth has been unjustly criticized as a one-dimensional vocalist but having seen the DVD live performances, one comes to the conclusion that he certainly can emote with the best of them. Funny because prog has so few vocalists that transcend and impress , which is why we continue to adulate and idolize singers who frankly haven't done all that much lately (Lake, Hollis and yes, even the temperamental Fish, whose recent work-the 13th Star- is back to form). I fully understand the purists who see Marillion more as a commercial band but many of us hard edged fans like a little sweetness from time to time and this album certainly delivers the goods. That being said, I am still perplexed by some of the prior releases and what came after and am in no hurry to plunge deliriously into a spree. "Marbles" will do very nicely and as long as Neverland, You're Gone and The Invisible Man continue to amaze me, paraphrasing U2 , I will follow. Lots of words have been expressed by my PA friends , so I need not get into the details and rehash what has been said. I will seek out the 2CD version as Oceancloud is allegedly a shining piece of music. Dedicated to Eric (e-Dub), the birthday boy . 4.5 shiny agates
tszirmay | 4/5 |


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