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Marillion - Misplaced Childhood CD (album) cover





4.24 | 2046 ratings

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5 stars I'm not going to call this album the band's magnum opus, because, in my humble opinion, the next incarnation of the band went on to make two such albums. It is, however, the towering height of both the Fish era and also what we now call neo prog in the 1980's, a monster smash hit of an LP, which, in turn, spawned three incredibly big hit singles, a generation of girls by the name of Kayleigh, and all without face paint on as well!

The direction the band had taken in Fugazi, heightened commerciality fused with progressive rock, reached its zenith with this album. Whoever would have thought that a concept album revolving around an autobiographical account of life's ups and downs and societal ills would have been so popular in the era of post punk and new romanticism?

Side one has the hits Kayleigh, Lavender, and Heart Of Lothian. The first is pure pop/prog joy. The second is a great poem set to music, although the only minor gripe I have about Lavender is the fact that the single version (which was extended from the album version) features one of the most achingly beautiful guitar solos ever committed to vinyl of all time, let alone by Steven Rothery, and was absent from the album. Hearts Of Lothian is a simple barnstormer of a song, with Fish wearing his heart on his roots sleeve and the band playing as if their lives depended upon it. By this time, they were so massive that the pop video even featured TV celebrities doing star turns. The end of the track slows down to a sensitive backing track with Fish baring his soul to us all.

The other tracks on side one are Pseudo Silk Kimono, a slow and thoughtful introduction to the work as a whole, and Bitter Suite, which is a superb progressive ballad and leads nicely into the Hearts track.

Side two can comfortably be called the more progressive side, and proceeds to give Fish's, at times, exceptionally bleak view of the world. I remember more than a few letters in music papers at the time bemoaning the fact that at least Roger Waters was old enough to moan about all in sight, whilst Fish was a mere stripling. I find it utterly brilliant, with a relentless pace virtually unchecked throughout.

Waterhole leads into a massive rocker, Lords Of The Backstage, one of the finest tracks the band ever recorded. The main epic of the album, Blind Curve. Nine minutes of dark and lyrically poetical symphony. Childhood End and White Feather close the album, in which all of the demons are finally exhaled.

There are no standout performances on this. This is the sound of a band playing together at the top of their game and all in the same direction. It all culminated in a fantastic festival called Garden Party held at Milton Keynes Bowl with, amongst others, Jethro Tull supporting to a massive audience. As most of the band have said since, they should have stopped there and rested for a couple of years.

This is an essential album, and easily deserves the full five stars. There is not a weak moment on it, and for those who do not own it, it is extremely important to the understanding and appreciation of progressive rock at the time of its release.

lazland | 5/5 |


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