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Marillion - Misplaced Childhood CD (album) cover

MISPLACED CHILDHOOD

Marillion

 

Neo-Prog

4.25 | 2070 ratings

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VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Review Nš 261

'Misplaced Childhood' is the third studio album of Marillion and was released in 1985. With its lush production and mix, this album became the greatest commercial triumph of the band, especially in Europe where the group raised the peak of their fame and became known as one of the most famous progressive rock bands in the world. It was also their most commercially successful album, reaching the first position in the U.K. charts and spending a total of forty one weeks on the chart, the longest chart residency that a Marillion's album ever got. It was also a very successful album in U.S.A. The band even made a tour with Rush as a support act. In short, this was really a truly successful album, really.

The album featured also the most successful single of the group, 'Kayleigh', which reached the second position in the list of the most commonly listen in U.K. and was a worldwide success too. The name of the song was conceived by Fish slightly disguising the name of an old girlfriend of him, Kay Lee, on which the song was inspired. 'Lavender' was another song that was also released as a single and it was also a great commercial success. It reached the fifth position on the chart. Much of the song titles contain autobiographical references. For example, 'Kayleigh', as I said before, and 'Heart Of Lothian', an explicit reference to a traditional region of Scotland, in Edinburgh, where Fish was born.

'Misplaced Childhood' is a conceptual album, the first conceptual album released by the group, consisting of a continuous piece of music. Armed with a handful of lyrics born out of a self confessed acid trip, during 10 hours after consuming LSD, Fish came up with this very well elaborated concept for the album. The story of the album is essentially about lost loves, sudden success, acceptance, lost childhood and it has surprisingly an upbeat ending.

The line up on the album is Derek Dick 'Fish' (vocals), Steve Rothery (guitars), Mark Kelly (keyboards), Pete Trewavas (bass) and Ian Mosley (drums).

'Misplaced Childhood' has ten tracks. Because this is a conceptual album, the music moves and flows continuously. The music is very fragmented. Most songs consist of short themes tied together in a remarkable way. The lyrics are even more fragmented and because of the personal nature they're pretty difficult to interpret. 'Pseudo Silk Kimono' is a short introduction to the album. Mellow synthesiser tones, a warm bass and a guitar hinting in the back, that's all that accompanies Fish's soft whispering voice. As the synth tones of 'Pseudo Silk Kimono' fades, the guitar intro to 'Kayleigh' starts. The lyrics for the song were considered too much personal by the band. This is a classic prog ballad, a sad invocation for regret and self blame. A piano segue connects 'Kayleigh' and 'Lavender'. This is one of the most original songs in prog rock history combining a traditional English nursery rhyme with classic rock components. It's magically transformed into a touching love song where the sentiment of beauty is masterfully captured. 'Bitter Suite' is one of the lengthiest and more complex songs on the album. This very fragmented song starts with a very ambiguous little poem. It's brooding and dramatic, with multiple sections and with a very beautiful piano ending. 'Heart Of Lothian' was the last song chosen to be released as a single. It's a pretty straightforward rock song. The lyrics are about Fish's nationalism, proud to be a Scots. It's catchy and irresistible. It has cohesive keyboards and drums, catchy guitar riffs, strong bass lines and Fish's dramatic voice. 'Waterhole (Expresso Bongo)' is very aggressive, lyrically and musically. It starts with menacing keyboard tones before drums kick in and a high paced rock song full of percussion. 'Lords Of The Backstage' is another high paced rock song. This song deals about the poor combination of love and life on the road. The music quietens again for the epic on the album, 'Blind Curve'. It's again a very fragmented song like 'Bitter Suite'. Rothery takes over with one of the most beautiful guitar solos. 'Childhood's End' is a sweet song. Trewavas playing is superb, keyboards also make an important part for the song and the strumming playing of Rothery's guitar would become his trademark for years. 'White Feather' is a great song to close the album, very energetic and dynamic.

Conclusion: Besides be their most commercially successful album, 'Misplaced Childhood' is, for me and without any doubt, their best studio album until today, and is also, in my humble opinion, one of the best studio albums ever made in the progressive rock music. Even the former drummer of Dream Theater, Mike Portnoy commented that this was the best Marillion's album of all time. With 'Misplaced Childhood', Marillion proved they weren't a clone of Genesis and with it they reached the status of be considered one of the best progressive rock bands ever. 'Misplaced Childhood', put Marillion on the same quality level of Genesis, Yes, Pink Floyd, Gentle Giant, King Crimson, Jethro Tull, Van Der Graaf Generator, Camel, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Rush and Dream Theater. It put them as one of the greatest and most influential prog bands of ever too. If you don't know the band yet and want to buy a Marillion's albums, this is the best.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 5/5 |

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