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





4.23 | 1992 ratings

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3 stars I feel somewhat left out of the historical and emotional impact that Marillion had in 1983 simply because I was born a few years after the fact. So, I don't have that first-hand account as to the impact/hope it gave to the underground progressive rock scene of the '80s.

I first heard Marillion through their last album with Fish in CLUTCHING AT STRAWS, and the man's vocal delivery sounded halfway between Peter Gabriel's theatrics and Phil Collins's timbre. On SCRIPT, Fish apparently went near-full-throttle Gabriel on the voice including the emphasis on the dramatic side of the voice. So, it's my understanding that Fish's vocal delivery is the reason for the many Genesis comparisons. Everyone else in the band just has shears of influence mingled with other styles to create their own playing style, guitarist Steve Rothery in particular. The man sounds as equally influenced from Gilmour and Latimer as he does Hackett. And Mark Kelly's keyboard array fits into the term ''contemporary'' without getting too annoying.

The songwriting itself varies throughout the album. The big draw card for SCRIPT FOR A JESTER'S TEAR for progsters is that 2/3 of the content breaches the eight minute mark, enough for a cozy sit-down with the music but short enough to be satisfying. All four of the eight minute tracks have their moments, but the title track is the most gripping, opting to really scale the dynamics and jerk at those emotion strings, and quite effectively. The remaining three eighters all have their moments but ultimately run too long for their lengths. The little rant in the middle of ''Forgotten Suns'' sounds little more than a big lipped alligator moment to me in the realms of it not making any sense and being so goofily over-the-top.

The two shorter tracks actually steal some of the fun from the big daddy epics. ''Garden Party'' is an extremely close second place on the album in terms of quality with the edge on the bass and the slight shift in the metre (the song is not in your standard 4/4 if you listen closely). ''He Know You Know'' is little more than an '80s pop prog pastiche, but sometimes the album needs a song of lesser intelligence for balance.

Recent bonus reiusses add more content from Marillion's early days that didn't quite make it on the record. One of those is an enjoyable little pop tune called ''Market Square Heroes'' which really would have fit nicely on the original record. Another is the mammoth epic ''Grendel'', or the 1983 version of ''Supper's Ready''. The comparisons are quite obvious, particularly the ending section which bears an uncanny resemblance to ''Apocalypse in 9/8'', but there's a section in the middle that I swear was from Alice Cooper's ''Halo of Flies''.

In short, if you like Genesis theatricality mixed with Pink Floyd simple complexity wrapped in '80s keyboards, then SCRIPT FOR A JESTER'S TEAR will fit nicely in your collection. I actually think this is a rather decent to good album that had the potential to be great if ''Market Square Heroes'' was included and some of the epics were more fleshed out.

Sinusoid | 3/5 |


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