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Marillion - Somewhere Else CD (album) cover

SOMEWHERE ELSE

Marillion

 

Neo-Prog

3.04 | 538 ratings

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iguana
2 stars oh dear...

"somewhere else" has just superseded my now 16 year old "least favourite" marillion album. but while "holidays in eden" had stirring pieces like "splintering heart", "the party" (glad they dug that one out during the "marbles" tour) and the "this town/the rake's progress/100nights" trilogy as well as "cover my eyes" (one of the better attempts of the band at going pop), this collection of dirges - and in my ears it is no more than that - seems to go nowhere and bears little hint of any lasting effect except the constant desire to switch off after the first few songs and move on to more pleasant things. and to think this took them up to three years...

so, what went wrong? musically there is very little to complain, after all, the wonderful people that make up my all time favourite band have gone some way in developing a tasteful, onward-looking way of writing and playing. this album definitely belongs to steve rothery, his noted soaring soloing and chiming soundcaping is complemented by all the pleasant sound experiments that he has fashioned for himself during the last couple of years - at times not a million miles away from post rock - and nothing he does ever seems out of place here. the album has some excellent ensemble playing although i sometimes wonder if they left mark kelly down the pub when recording.

no, the main offender this time around is our good beloved friend mr. H! some sources state that he has had quite a rough time recently and it is inapppropriate to go further into that here. but while he had been known as an outrageously evocative singer and lyricist - and the best thing that could have ever happened to the band in that dreaded year 1988 - this time around he seems to have restricted his emotiveness to a constant onslaught of whining and nagging. and i don't have a problem with any voice that is starting to show its age. that's natural. but, combined with many lyrical themes, this is also becoming an issue for me.

we all know that steve hogarth and his mates are very comfortable at being advocates for simplicity, naturality, modesty and what else in these oversaturated, bloated, ultracapitalist times - and rightly so! but constant nannying in tracks like "see it like a baby" (oh my, an ode to simplicity) or "most toys" (bad bad consumption. well, who buys the albums then?) or ever "no such thing" (although one of the better tracks) slowly have an opposite effect on me. and the ultra-sappy "thank you whoever you are" with the album's most annoying vocal (anyone in for some - take note, marillos! - self-indulgence???) literally makes me cringe. i could go on and on and i would have, if i hadn't stopped myself right here.

the best song, i suppose, has to be "the wound", which combines some of the traditional (oh dear, another forbidden word) marillion-trademarks with a fresh approach and where everything is nicely balanced and even steve h. seems to choose a more subdued approach to create that marillion-wall-of-sound that we all love. but after depressing myself to tears with "the last century for man" (yes, i WILL jump out of that window today. maybe.) i hardly ever make it through "faith" because i just lost interest in it all.

i still love this band. i still love the people that make up this band. if i met them in the street i'd buy a round of drinks for them in no time. i probably even love them for albums like this, because it shows that they are very human. they make mistakes. "somewhere else" is a mistake. the announcement on the last booklet page that the next album will be out in a year's time is not yet a dreaded prospect to me. but i will probably never play this album again.

two stars because there are some genuinely good moments on there. two stars because you'll probably have to endure a lot of hearache to discover them. really, before finding a "better way of life" at marillion.com, get a life first.

iguana | 2/5 |

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