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Marillion - Marbles CD (album) cover





4.09 | 1079 ratings

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4 stars A reviewer's conundrum: How do you rate an album that you 1) don't feel in your gut is your style, and 2) find it fairly simple and over-stretched, but 3) keep coming back to it over and over again because when you're in the right mood it's just what the doctor ordered?

Well, I suppose I'll round up and give Marbles 4 stars. When something keeps drawing me back time and time again, I eventually have to stop analyzing and admit that I just like it. That's how I feel about Marbles.

Highlights: Invisible Man, Don't Hurt Yourself, and Neverland. The extended pieces are at first blush too extended, but for this dark, searching, and reflective atmosphere, taking a bit of time to really put everything out there is a good thing. Of the "singles", Don't Hurt Yourself is the catchiest to me without being cheesy, despite obvious pop touches such as the hand claps.

This probably works well because it feels like such a team effort, with Pete cranking up the bass at key points, and Rothery really cranking out some great fills to complement the vocals. No one is getting in anyone's way, but everyone also contributes nicely. Hogarth is not one I'd like to listen to often, but I have to admit that he put everything he's got into this album, and that's always respectable.

So, if you don't like U2, you won't like this. But if you'd like to hear U2 perhaps dig a bit deeper, Marbles might be close to what would come out of it. It's not an album to play for friends, to pump you up, or for many other situations, for that matter. But crank Marbles up during a lonely sunset, and you just might feel the strong presence of a friend who needs your shoulder to cry on.

Flucktrot | 4/5 |


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