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Marillion - This Strange Engine CD (album) cover





3.42 | 561 ratings

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2 stars Not strange enough

This is my third Hogarth era album and the first that failed to connect with me in any meaningful way. I was blown away by the darkly elegant "Brave" and thought "Afraid of Sunlight" had some decent moments. But here things have moved to a much more conventional sound, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, unless of course the material simply bores you. This was the case for me. This smacks of some truly middle-of-the-road adult contemporary rock which has been given some arty frills. Minus these proggy mirages you are often left with soft ballad singalongs that would not sound out of place on a Celine Dion album. Ok, that's an exaggeration but not by much. Repetitive choruses, bland melodies, and very few interesting moments of playing. Safe and sugary is the story here. The booklet and artwork feel pretty clichéd and phoned in as well. The exception of course is the last track, the title track, which is a 15 minute attempt at redemption. There are some really nice moments here. Compositionally things build and get more interesting, and we finally get some spirited and interesting instrumental work. I think Mark Kelly shines the most with fiery synth passages and some really lovely piano. Rothery contributes his usual liquidy smooth leads and overall there is a slightly melancholic beauty to the piece. But to give the work 3 stars I have to say it is a "good album" and I can't do that. It's a weak album with one very good track at the end. Two stars is perfect, this is one for the fans to investigate.

Finnforest | 2/5 |


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