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Marillion - Sugar Mice CD (album) cover





4.01 | 48 ratings

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4 stars Yet another single I'm the first one to review. 'Sugar Mice' is a strong ballad from Clutching At Straws, the last Marillion album with Fish. If that album (ie. the alcohol-loving character of Mr. Torch) is more or less autobiographical, this song is so in the most heartfelt way. The character's marriage is crumbled and he sulks in bars, full of self pity. "The toughest thing I ever did was talk to the kids on the phone. When I heard them asking questions I knew that you were all alone." In addition to the emotional level, Fish's lyrics capture wonderfully the surroundings, the hotel bar where the jukebox in the corner plays Sinatra. This is among those songs by a prog band that definitely must not be evaluated by their progness or the lack of it. It may be a bit syrupy - up to its title! - but it's a great song in its own rights. It actually comes closer to Entertainment Music (elegant crooners such as Sinatra or Tony Bennett) than Prog- Rock, even with that electric guitar solo. And that's no sin, is it?

The single contains an extended version (not very necessary) and a radio edit. 'Tux On' is a dark-toned song that appeared also in the compilation B'Sides Themselves (1988). I'd count it among the finest non-album tracks of Marillion. Operating mostly in a quiet, nearly mysterious understatement where the delicate details such as hi-hats come up front, it builds its suppressed tension towards the end. Maybe it could have evolved in a more powerful/proggy way than basically repeating the refrain over and over.The story of a young lad having his first guitar etc. is not quite clear to me; what is the event where he had a tuxedo on and why that detail was so relevant? Anyway, an interesting little track, which simply would have been out of place on an album, like all good B-side songs, and that's precisely their charm.

Matti | 4/5 |


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