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Marillion - Market Square Heroes CD (album) cover





3.90 | 117 ratings

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4 stars Marillion's debut release is a neatly constructed EP optimised to show off the commercial and progressive sides of the band equally. On the commercial side, Market Square Heroes and Three Boats Down From the Candy are catchy sing-along pieces which make up for fairly simplistic structures with energetic, enthusiastic performances from the band; on the proggy side, the epic Grendel might take a leaf or two from Genesis (and it certainly didn't help that the EP was produced by David Hitchcock, who also produced Foxtrot), but it's not so much a fully- fledged rip-off of any particular prog group so much as it's a prog-by-numbers sort of piece, a song structured in imitation of side-long epics of the past for the sake of it rather than being a piece developed according to the band's own songwriting practices which happens to last for nearly twenty minutes. At the same time, though, even though Grendel may be structured the way it is in tribute to the band's influences, it's still an enormously effective piece, evoking a spooky and ominous atmosphere to an extent that any band from the golden age of prog would have been proud to accomplish.

On the whole, the three tracks here manage to be both crucially important to the evolution of Marillion's sound and great listens in their own right. That said, unless you're particularly keen to own a copy on the original vinyl (or spring for the Fish-era singles boxed set which includes a CD replica of the EP), you may be better off just tracking down the two-CD issue of Script For a Jester's Tear - the bonus disc on that one includes fine versions of all three tracks. (In particular, even though the edition of Grendel there isn't the one which made it onto the EP, by my reckoning it's a mildly better version - stretching out to 19 minutes and feeling a bit less constrained by the limitations of an EP's side). I would say that Script is the definitive disc from Mick Pointer's tenure in Marillion, but at the same time Market Square Heroes is a fine warm-up for it.

Warthur | 4/5 |


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