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





4.23 | 1992 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Script for a Jesters Tear is the debut album of five-piece Neo-prog band Marillion, the album that thrust prog back into the public conscience and effectively started the Neo-prog boom of the 1980's early 90's. So after more than 20 years, what can one say about this album?

The most obvious stand out is Fish. He has a singing style that is incredibly theatrical, in fact he is the closest anyone has got to singing like Peter Gabriel, though he uses this style in a completely different manner, more like that of Peter Hammil, and accentuates it greatly. And I love it, he communicates the feelings, even imagery, that he instils into the songs brilliantly, a charismatic front man if ever there was one.

Its not just his singing style that dominates this album, he proves to be an impressive song writer as well. The main basis for this would be his self destructive lifestyle witch lends itself brilliantly to the themes of the songs here. Speaking of the themes, a lot of these songs focus on the individual, with Garden Party and Forgotten Sons being the exceptions. In Script for a Jesters Tear he sings about himself, how he played as the class joker in an attempt to deflect criticism of his size and the fact that he was on the social boundaries. He Knows You Know was about his drug and alcohol abuse, The Web about infatuation with someone (at least that's what I get from the lyrics here) and Chelsea Monday is the search for fame. What makes these lyrics so special is that they weave a story, seemingly giving the album characters, and character, to really think about, that leave a lasting impression in your mind.

Musically this band rocks in most quarters, with Rothery immediately marking himself out as one of the most emotional guitarists of the time, each riff, lick, solo suit's the song brilliantly. OK, he's not the most technically gifted guitarist of all time but that doesn't matter here, his guitar lines aren't overly simple and they work around the keyboard passages to add a real sense of feeling.

Mark Kelly's keyboard lines move between slow, simple backing to Fish's voice to powering the atmosphere behind the solo's of Rothery or leading the melody. Not a lot needs to be said here, he's just extremely well suited to this style of music, you just have to hear the songs to find what he adds.

Pete Trewaves is probably the stand out musician of this album, he has a unique and powerful style of playing bass that drives the songs forward. Sadly, Pete's partner in the rhythm section, Mick Pointer, was not quite up to the task. His drum lines are acceptable but his eventual full time replacement Ian Mosley would have done much better here. Because of this its Pete's bass work that holds the songs together more than the drums, but having said that, Pointers work isn't inappropriate, it just lacks a technical edge that many other drummers have.

Overall this is quite an amazing album, most definitely one of the strongest debut's in the prog world, and historically the album that kicked the Neo-prog movement into high gear, even if it wasn't the first one there. Despite its flaws in the rhythm section, this album is stunning because of its immaculately formed songs and deserves everyone of the 5 stars.

sleeper | 5/5 |


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