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Marillion - Script For A Jester's Tear CD (album) cover





4.23 | 1990 ratings

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4 stars "Here I am again once more, amidst her playground of broken hearts ... the game is over" Doesn't sound like the greatest poetry does it? But believe me, in the hands of Marillion's passionate singer Fish, the words come to life with a vengeance. Love him or hate him (and let's face it, even those of us who do love his contributions to Marillion suspect that he might not be easy to get along with), it was hard to ignore this man simply because he dared to wear his heart on his sleeve. Of course Fish's similarities to Genesis' Peter Gabriel were never more pronounced than on this album, but this album is so intriguing that such "plagiarisation" is easy to forgive.

The title track to this album shows Marillion's strengths. Sure there's a decent guitar solo from Steve Rothery, sure there's a nice symphonic arrangement (with a child-like melody creeping at one point to match the imagery), but there's no doubt that it is the sheer emotion of the singer that gets to you. That must certainly have seemed like a rare commodity back in 1983, when the detached vocalist was very much in vogue. Still, it is the manner in which Marillion overcome the limitations of their time and situation that makes this album special.

While it is the title track that sold me, there's a wealth of good stuff here. He Knows You Know is a biting track held together by some really nice Mark Kelly synth lines. The Web uses interplay between heavy synthy section and light, relatively inaudible sparse passages. Kelly's synth playing on this particular song is arguably his finest hour with Marillion, and Rothery's solo is a relative masterpiece (I really think he's very overrated, by the way).

I must say that the jerky Garden Party and seductive synth pop epic Chelsea Monday (which has a massive Rothery solo colouring most of the song) are both guilty of running on too long but the raging Forgotten Sons makes sure the album ends on a major high. The track is something of an anomaly, threatening to stray into both boogie and funk territory while remaining a vital, inventive anti-war rant.

Once I was undecided, torn by a sentimental attachment to the third Marillion album Misplaced Childhood, but now I can confidently proclaim this one to be, hands down, the greatest album in neo-prog history. ... 76% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 4/5 |


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