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Marillion - Real to Reel CD (album) cover

REAL TO REEL

Marillion

 

Neo-Prog

3.84 | 311 ratings

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octopus-4
Special Collaborator
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars It was in the early 80s that one of my friends went back from London with a tape of a new band. I didn't know the track's titles on that tape so I started buying any Marillion's album released hoping to find what later I discovered was Grendel.

Real to Reel is the second Marillion album that I have bought, just after Fugazi and one thing that the two albums had in common (I'm speaking of vinyl editions) is that they don't contain any information about the band and the lineup. I had to wait for Misplaced Childhood to learn their names.

So I had to enjoy this live without knowing anthing else that the fact that the band's name wos inspired by Tolkien's Silmarillion.

The album is opened by Assassing that was the hit-single from Fugazi, or at least I remember so. The production is excellent and the song has the same emotional impact on both the studio and the live versions. I have to add that we were already in the 80s and the lack of good music (not only prog) was huge so i was more than happy to hear a band of this kind, before the neo-prog label was invented.

Still from Fugazi, Incubus has just a little defect: the initial "ooh-wah" that Fish sings is too clear in this live version so it sounds a little ridiculous. Apart of this little thing, the song is not too different from the studio version and in the second half of the song Fish cries his "ooh-wah" better. I just have to add that this is one of the best songs of the Fish era.

"Cinderella Search" was actually unreleased. It's in line with the previous songs. It's possible that it was discarded by Fugazi because of vinyl limitations, or it was written just after the album was ready to be printed. However it sounds like it was a Fugazi's song.

Let's jump "Emerald Lies" that was not included in the vinyl edition and go to the B-side that's opened by what I consider the best song ever released by Marillion. Forgotten Sons is for me their masterpiece even if the final guitar riff is "stolen" from Grendel. Using the same riff in two different songs is quite immoral....

However the album is closed by two unforgettable songs: Garden Party was the first commercial success of the band, released as a single and on Script. So important for the band that "The Uninvited Guest" on the first Hogarth's era album sounds to me like a copy. The improvement is that on the final notes of the song, instead of closing it they start "Market Square Heroes". This song was not released on an album but was in the tape that I've mentioned before so I already knew it. It's an excellent closer for a live performance, with a rhythm that can make people dance and a chorus that can be sung by the crowd. This is exactly what seems to have happened when the live has been recorded.

This live represents the best of the first half of the Fish era. Things started to change with Misplaced Childhood, that was a more mature album, more pretentious but less spontaneous. On Real to Reel we have a young band and their enthusiasm can be felt. Surely one of the few great albums of the first half of the 80s and still one of my favorite.

octopus-4 | 4/5 |

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