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Marillion - Misplaced Childhood CD (album) cover





4.25 | 2093 ratings

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4 stars Marillion's excellent 1985 album MISPLACED CHILDHOOD lends considerable weight to the argument that not all the best progressive rock was written in the 70s. Granted, this recording could never have happened if Genesis hadn't first blazed the trail that Marillion follow so well here, but that's just the way that art often develops. Marillion may be inspired by Genesis, but wasn't the music of Beethoven an edifice built upon the foundation that Hayden and others had laid? Regarding the often-leveled charge of Fish's vocals being "imitative" of Gabriel's, I find it well within the realm of probability that two people could have very similar singing voices, and conclude "lucky me!" Having more musical choices is always good, and I simply like to hear Fish sing, passionately fronting this very polished and powerful band!

In classic "prog" fashion, MISPLACED CHILDHOOD is a concept album in which all the tracks run together in a seamless whole. The excellent, often moving lyrics give an account of loneliness, lost love, substance abuse, the shallowness of fame, man's inhumanity to man, and -- most poignantly of all -- a longing for the lost innocence of childhood. This sentiment is beautifully captured in "Lavender," as a Mother Goose rhyme is masterfully and magically transformed into a touching love song, complete with a singing lead guitar courtesy of Steve Rothery (whose cutting licks delightfully recall those of fellow "Steve" Hackett!)

Though the album's words take us through some bitter emotional territory, the music is varied, compelling (if overtly derivative) and evocative of its subject matter throughout. The final message is not one of despair, however, as the dawning of wisdom, the reclamation of the spirit of wonder, and the realization of the limitlessness of the future is effectively portrayed in the final two triumphal and cathartic songs, "Childhood's End" and "White Feather."

In keeping with its theme, MISPLACED CHILDHOOD shone out like a beacon of hope for the future of progressive rock in the 80s, and still thrills today! It is recordings like this one, made some ten years after the heydays of it progenitors, that give me continued faith in the future of the genre. A latter-day progressive rock classic!

Peter | 4/5 |


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