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Marillion - A Singles Collection - Six of One, Half a Dozen of the Other  CD (album) cover





2.93 | 73 ratings

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2 stars As the title implies this compilation album puts a string of Marillion singles from both the Fish and Steve Hogarth eras on the same CD ... . What really rankles is the fact that the compilers of this album have seen fit to put the tracks in random order as if to imply that Marillion is the kind of band that's produces such consistently good music that there is no need to try and put the music in context. It's also not particularly convincing that only 6 tracks have been picked from the Fish era while 8 were selected from the Hogarth period, despite the fact that when this collection came out in 1992 Hogarth had cut only two albums (Seasons End and Holidays In Eden) with the band, while the Fish era had produced a much larger (and let's face it, distinctly superior) catalogue of material to chose from.

I have to report that despite some questionable selections, it is the Fish songs that really stand out. It helps that the only real "prog" moments that make it onto this album are indeed Fish tracks, although the uneven Assassing (good to hear some solo spots from keyboardist Mark Kelly but I do find the band's sound to be somewhat tame at various points during the song) and Garden Party are hardly my favourite Marillion "prog" tunes. I dare say though that even a neutral first-time listener would be forced to admit that the Fish-era pop songs Kayleigh, Lavender, the incomparable Incommunicado and the oh-so-subtle Warm Wet Circles are significantly better than the average Hogarth-era tune on offer here.

A handful of the Hogarth songs are good, like Cover My Eyes (Pain & Heaven) which reminds me of U2, the anthemic ballad Easter and a passable (if occassionally over the top) cover of Rare Bird's awesome hit Sympathy ... but most are not. Hooks In You is the worst of a bunch that includes The Uninvited Guest, No One Can (which is like a bad Alison Moyet song), Dry Land and I Will Walk On Water. It's all quite unfortunate when you consider that there were much better songs on Seasons End alone that didn't make the "single" cut. I for one think The Bell In The Sea would have made a great single.

Marillion is an undeniably progressive rock band that could (and did) make great singles. Unfortunately the balance of this album is skewed, and I'm not even sure that it would have worked even if there were more Fish-era songs and the material was presented chronologically. As for a real "best of", there are way too many songs (offhand, Grendel, Script For A Jester's Tear, Forgotten Sons, Jigsaw, He Knows You Know, Sugar Mice, Bitter Suite, Heart Of Lothian, Blind Curve, to name a few) left off this collection for it to come close to doing Marillion justice. Based on the track listing I can see that it was done better on The Best Of Both Worlds, where the vocalists have a CD each. As for this record, despite containing some great songs, it fails on many different levels. ... 41% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 2/5 |


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