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Marillion - F E A R (F*** Everyone And Run) CD (album) cover





3.77 | 444 ratings

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4 stars I find this album took ages to reveal it's secrets; but then Brave did something similar - having been a fan of early Marillion, I just wasn't sure. It ended up as a favourite and whilst FEAR doesn't quite get there yet, I feel it might yet.

The oddest aspect of the record is that it seems to be light on the big, anthemic hooks; and tends to be reflective. Not that it's not dynamic; and there are moments when it all kicks in that it has rather a lot of impact, but for a record with such an aggressive title and concept - that I wholeheartedly approve of - it's more brooding than outright angry and that's unexpected. Marillion can still turn up the heat (Gaza proving it), so it seems surprising to see the Rothery going for a more textural role than an in-your-face one. Mark Kelly is terrific throughout and manages to sound very fresh.

I think a bit more repetition might have made this an easier swallow - there's no choruses, in fact, there are lots of sections. Think the Misplaced Childhood structure without the chordal repetition between parts of side 1 and 2. It's perhaps fairer to think of FEAR as a politically charged Tales from Topographic Oceans. Its a meandering, long-form work created of many sections that work to a common end. The opening, El Dorado is very strong, with a Tull-like intro, segueing through a STCBM style part - The Gold - which culminates in a classic Rothery solo that could have come off of Marbles or Afraid of Sunlight. The rest of the track feels reminiscent of Ocean Cloud, with shorter vignettes making up the rest of the song. Notable is the lovely lyric at the end of Grandchildren of Apes; which is beautiful and optimistic.

White Paper and Living in FEAR are shorter tracks that carry the atmosphere between the three epic tracks. The Leavers has some lovely atmosphere but I tend to lose concentration a little during the song. It meanders a little too much. Some lovely keyboards. In the wake of the whole Brexit thing, it's somewhat switched lyrically - the 'leavers' being seeming more progressive people and the 'remainers' being those who wish to remain as they traditionally did. Nothing to do with Marillion, obviously, but heard post July 2016, it seems a bit skewed!

The New Kings does tend to be the saving grace; with the greater sense of urgency. After the whole 'We are the leavers/remainers' lyrics, one kind of wishes for something other than 'we are the new kings' - that said, it is a hook, I suppose. Small gripe, and not worth too much thought.

The piece has a lot of atmosphere and drama, with the greatest dynamic variation provided in a single epic on this record.

I had hoped for a true classic; and it might win me yet. I think a single LP with El Dorado on one side and The New Kings on the other may have been the album I hoped for. Less might have been more after all. Still, on what is presented here, it's good to see Marillion holding their long-form card aloft again and making purposeful music.

Not the best political LP this winter - that crown goes to Anubis' The Second Hand - but it's a very good record in its own right.

RedKnot | 4/5 |


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