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Marillion - Somewhere Else CD (album) cover

SOMEWHERE ELSE

Marillion

Neo-Prog


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3 stars More "song-oriented" material here.

This is still really good Marillion, I enjoy this album quite a lot but, with a breakthrough like Marbles, I was expecting a lot more from them.

As I already stated, this is a more song-oriented album rather than the more atmospheric oriented Marbles so, people who enjoyed Afraid of Sunlight and Anoraknophobia, rejoice! The album still maintains the same feeling throughout the disc but I have come to the conclusion that, even though Marbles needed to be listened to in its entirety to achieve its full effect, this is more of a individual-song album and the listener can (and should) skip around from song to song since no atmospheric or emotional effect is lost if he/she does so.

This is, nevertheless, a very good effort. I'll be listening to this disc for a while! I'll be seeing Marillion on the 20th of this month so I'll inform on the quality of their new material done LIVE soon!

Report this review (#117400)
Posted Thursday, April 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars In fact it is 4,5 star album. I really enjoyed Anoraknophobia, liked Marbles but this one is the best of last three studio albums (not as dull in case of two-disc Marbles). No sound here is redundant, they have achieved the level in which you make great, captivating music without nervous solos like Warm Wet Circles (which are nevertheless great). Something similar to Peter Hammill, but of course the thin man is still far away, maybe because Steve Hogarth's manner of singing, expressing emotion is from opposite planet, like Felona e Sorona. And the scarce solos are at the right moment, but all the time there are great melodies and good playing around. And what surprised me are lyrics, more mature than I expected from Hogarth, but good, treating of important matters in a simple, yet apt and touchy way. Of course nothing in the manner of Master Dick, but hey, it does not have to be drawback. You can skip two first tracks and then you have eight magnificently arranged tracks, different in mood, style and dynamics, with great peaks being "Thankyou Whoever You are", "Somewhere Else", "A Voice From The Past", "The Wound" and "The Last Century For Man". The set ends with acoustic, yet nicely developing to climax "Faith". To clarify matters I must admit that I was, I am and I will be supporter of Fish, but the just credits must be given to the boys with Steve.
Report this review (#117563)
Posted Saturday, April 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tristan Mulders
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Marillion - Somewhere Else

It took nearly 3 years for this British rock group to come up with a follow-up to their critically acclaimed "Marbles" album and let me put it like this: I won't mind aging another 3 years if that means I'll get my hand on yet another excellent Marillion album! Today I finally received my hard copy of this small jewel by post, accompanied by the promo single to the song See it like a Baby, and this meant a series of events was put into action:

First of all I made sure everyone at home knew I was not to be disturbed for the next hour or so and that serious repercussions would follow if someone still had the nerve to do so! Next, I needed to lock myself in my room and put this disc in my CD-player, thirdly I began to scavenge under the immense pile of rubbish on my desk to find my pretty decent headset, and finally I lay down on my bed with the sun shining directly in my face, put the headphones on and let the music work its magic on me...

Now, this is the first listening of this album for me, at least... when it comes down to a decent quality version of the music. For I already heard the whole album at an exclusive listening party in Amsterdam this February. And let me tell you, even on the crappy installation they had at the listening party (probably done on purpose so nobody would even consider attempting to tape the stuff), most of the new album impressed me first time round!

Maybe the most surprising element of this album is its production; producer Mike Hunter seems to have managed to give the band a fresh and modern sound, which is quite the opposite of the dark and warm sound that Dave Meegan achieved on "Marbles". Not that I dislike Meegan's work on "Marbles"; this new sound is just so. well. different. and I like it! People have compared it to the 'live' sound of the band and it sounds indeed far more dynamic than any of the other recordings. What's rather curious is that each time I listen to "Somewhere Else" I cannot help but think that perhaps if Mike Hunter produced Marillion's 1998 album "Radiation", that album would have been more successful... For the songs on this album have the sound I always imagined that the band would have loved for the songs on "Radiation". The songs included here have this really psychedelic yet modern feel to them.

It took me a while to fully enjoy those songs though, but there were two instant faves: the title track Somewhere Else and the atmospheric No such Thing. The first is an instant new era Marillion classic, combining elements of the epic Ocean Cloud and the airy Neverland tracks, but dipped in a sauce of This is the 21st Century's electronics, whereas the latter instantly made me think of the Black Sabbath song "Planet Caravan", mainly because of the effect that's used on the vocals.

After what seems like an infinite amount of listens to a leaked promotional version of the album (yeah, I know what a bad thing to do... but I already ordered the album by then) , gradually the other songs began to grow on me, which seems to be a tendency that's continued over each Marillion disc. But it wasn't until this very afternoon that I fully comprehended the sheer beauty of this disc. Each and every song is not what they at first might appear to be. They aren't lengthy... they aren't overly complex... yet they aren't exactly radio friendly either... Yet on first listen it might appear that Marillion have gone in a more or less modern rock direction with "Somewhere Else", but in a while the listener will discover that this is just trademark Marillion with all those classic elements, but just for the first time in their career they've fully progressed into the 21st Century...

Excellent guitar rock, the occasional subtle drum computer, the nice string arrangements in the backgrounds, and the lovely live sound of the instruments . suddenly all the pieces come together and the puzzle's complete: this is Marillion's sound for the future!

Report this review (#117588)
Posted Saturday, April 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
E-Dub
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Fugazi. Clutching At Straws. Afraid Of Sunlight. Now, Somewhere Else. What these discs have in common is they were given the unenviable task of following up what is considered classics and/ masterpieces. Fans may have thought Marillion were on the decline until they experienced new life with Anoraknophobia, and the now instant classic Marbles. Although Somewhere Else may be somewhere in the middle of the road when Marillion's body of work is reviewed years from now, it will be considered a strong entry for the group.

I have to say that I was a bit skeptical before I received my copy due to a lackluster review on DPRP; however, any skepticism was washed away inside of 10 seconds of the first track entitled "The Other Half". Whereas Marbles started off with the slow pulse of "The Invisible Man", Marillion charges out of the gate with the signature drum pattern of Mosley. Puncuated with a razor sharp solo from Rothers, it's the perfect choice to lead off Somewhere Else.

"See It Like A Baby" is the albums first single and has a bit more of the classic Marillion characteristics over Marbles first single "You're Gone". Instead of drum loops we have a jazzy guitar/drum combo and Trewavas' steady bass during the verses before a speeding jet goes flashing by...but it's not a jet but Rothery's guitar bridging the verse and adding a nice touch to the chorus. Rothers especially shines on this track as the solo could be one of his finest on the album.

Next is the very Beatle-esque "Thankyou Whoever You Are". Not exactly a favorite of mine as the lyrics seem a bit forced and sluggish. Mosley's drumming isn't very inventive on this tune either as some of it is reminiscent of "The Invisible Man". Not a bad tune, but just doesn't stick out.

If the previous track sounded lazy, "Most Toys" gives it a roundhouse kick to the adam's apple and proceeds to give us an all out assault. It reminds me a lot of Radiation's "The Answering Machine" because it's short, but not very sweet...and I mean that in a positive sends. Trewavas and Mosley really anchor this monster as h jumps up on his soapbox (which he does quite frequently on Somewhere Else). In all honesty, I like this song more than I thought I would.

One thing is crystal clear, and that is h is making a statement on the condition of the world today; however, as outspoken as he is about current events, he's not afraid to expose his vulnerabilities. The title track "Somewhere Else" is a song written during the breakup of his marriage-very emotive lyrics that shows h's very human side and pain. As tender as the song his, Rothers' grungy guitar really fits the mood as it's almost David Gilmour-ish. One of the albums highlights and harkens back to the pain of something off "Afraid Of Sunlight".

A big surprise for me is "A Voice From The Past". I wonder if it's leftover from the Marbles sessions as it would fit in nicely. Mark Kelly's hypnotic piano sort of reminds me of the keys prior to the 'blue pain' section of "This Strange Engine", and the song has another excellent solo from Rothery. Not a very long solo, but he packs a huge statement in a short amount of time. Another favorite of mine from this disc.

"No Such Thing" concerned me after reading the reviews on DPRP's website; however, I actually like the song with it's space out, distorted vocals. Much like a lot of the album, this song is another socially and politically conscious thought of h's set to music. I'm not a huge fan of mixing politics and music, but alongside Rothery's eerie guitar and the moodiness of Mosley's drums, it's still a worthy addition to the album.

No spaciness or subtleties for "The Wound". Classic Mosley drum fill with Kelly's piano accompanying it, the band literally explodes is an absolute fury. This song is a perfect example of what Marillion are capable of when they put their heads down and give an all out assault on the senses. This or "The Other Half" would be perfect show openers on the new tour.

The momentum is somewhat lost when "The Last Centry For Man" slides in. Not bad, but not a favorite of mine as it's sort of sluggish in feel as h plays Nostradamus and predicts that we're in our last century. Maybe he's right, but I wish the song made more of a statement.

With Marbles, I'm always floored with the majestic "Neverland" as the albums closer. We don't have that on Somewhere Else, but "Faith" still works very well as a closer. A song that's been in the bag for a while, I'm pretty familiar with it and I may have even touched upon it in my review of the Before First Light DVD.

To summarize, I don't know if this will be mentioned alongside the other Marillion classics when all is said and done with. What this band has given us, however, is solid music that is still relevant in today's music world. There's not as much progressive elements in their recent material as there was for the first half of their career, but I do hear flashes every now and then. Also, I don't want to hear how Rothery is missing from Marillion's current music because he's blistering your ears throughout Somewhere Else. As for the disc, I probably should've waited for a few more listens before writing a review as my view changes somewhat over the course of time. My initial thoughts are that Marillion are still capable of raising the bar and meeting the next challenge. I think they've done a fine job with Somewhere Else.

A strong 3.75 to 4 stars out of 5

Report this review (#117782)
Posted Tuesday, April 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Odd release by the veterans here.

And after having listened to this one for some hours, I'm not impressed either. In my ears, the sound here is most often flat and lifeless - no textures to the soundscapes, too much monotony.

Lots of good work if you're into details here of course, mood sounds jumping out from guitar and synths, the slightly jazz-inspired drumming, the mellow guitars being given more umph in certain sections to provide some drama and tension, the synths used to create subtle musical backdrops as well as providing mood effects.

But the songs most often come across as an anonymous version of what Radiohead did a decade ago in my ears; the impression strengthened by Hogarths vocal delivery on most tracks.

One standout track in my opinion though: "No Such Thing". Lots of cliches there, but also one of the few songs with mood and atmosphere that makes it interesting.

Report this review (#118392)
Posted Saturday, April 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Marillion's 14th studio album "Somewhere Else" is a promise well kept. As with Anoraknaphobia, Marbles, and others..I was originally a bit disappointed when I first heard sound clips for "Somewhere Else". Alas, any die hard Marillion fan knows that clips and first listens are absolutely meaningless. So like a good boy, I gave "Somewhere Else" many a listen before submitting my review...and the album is remarkable..further demonstrating Marillion's level of musical creativity, craftsmanship and genius. As with other Marillion albums, "Somewhere Else" takes us on a grand, emotional journey that guarantees us raw energy, unspeakable beauty, haunting passages, and even a few rough spots ('Most Toys' if you haven't already guessed). Highlights include the heavenly "Voice From the Past" ( an epic track that nearly had me in tears) and otherworldly title track "Somewhere Else". "No Such Thing" is a dreamy bit of psychedelia that shows how truly unique and creative Marillion is. "The Wound" is a haunting number that turns and winds in true Marillion fashion.. with more listenings it may end up my favorite track. The opener.."the Other Half" is emotionally intense with an absolutely beautiful atmospheric ending. The album ends with the beautiful, subtle, folky "faith"..an amazing track that is perfect for this album. So "Somewhere Else" can rightfully take its place as another Marillion masterwork...right there with "Marbles" and "Anorak"..with the boys all working in perfect harmony to create pure magic. "Somewhere Else" may not feel as polished as "Marbles" yet it is more complex, targeting deeper emotions as we got with "Afraid of Sunlight". If you are new to Marillion or a current fan..please, please, PLEASE give "Somewhere Else" a chance and listen to the songs all the way through....so that you can fully digest and appreciate the complexity, beauty, mystery and mastery of their music. Look out for album 15 next Spring...Life is wonderful!!!!
Report this review (#118444)
Posted Sunday, April 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars 'Somewhere else' definitely takes a more focussed approach to a lot of previous Marillion work, especially in comparison to its predecessor, 'Marbles'. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing I have no doubt will be the subject of endless discussion ad nauseum amongst the numerous fan forums scattered about the internet. Personally, I think it's a benefit as, the strong parts generally being spread less thinly spread, the music gains a greater impact. I liked Marbles' ambient soundscapes but here individual performances seem more noticeable- Steve Rothery contributes some excellent guitar work, Pete Trewavas' bass playing is more noticeable in the mix (definitely a good thing) and Ian Mosley excels on drums!

'The Other Half' is an excellent opener with a good melody, catchy hooks, and an up tempo, slightly psychedelic feel. The title track is reminiscent in places of Peter Gabriel and comes to a stunning finale! 'The Wound' is another standout track as are the two closers, 'The Last Century for Man' for its beautiful melancholy and 'Faith' for its uplifting acoustic simplicity.

Some tracks here would easily rival their best work, the album as a whole taking in the experience and musical influence they've gained throughout their career and improving upon it...

As the sleevenotes indicate, a 15th album is expected next year- it should be interesting to see where the band takes things from here...

Report this review (#118536)
Posted Monday, April 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Marillion takes us somewhere else...

In 2004, Marillion released one of their strongest albums in years with Marbles. The album relied more on atmosphere and was rather mellow in comparison to its predecessor Anoraknophobia. In 2007, they bring us Somewhere Else, which stylistically is somewhere in the middle of the rockiness of Anoraknophobia and the relaxing atmospheres of Marbles. It can be said quite easily that this isn't the Marillion of old trying to rehash old ideas and call it an album. No, this album is quite different from its previous albums and shows the band going into a different direction musically. This album focuses more on songwriting and melodies rather than creating long pieces and trying to be considered "progressive" (a term that the band tries to steer clear of, despite their obvious affiliation to the term). In the end, this collection of songs is filled with catchy hooks, opinionated and meaningful lyrics, and a general focus that drives the album along through its 50 or so minutes of playing time.

Songs like The Other Half and Most Toys are rocking pieces that really show how the band can write faster numbers (the first one is one of my favorites on the album and from first listen it really showed me that this album would be something enjoyable), while the middle pieces like Somewhere Else and Voice From the Past take the listener through more atmospheric and gentle atmospheres. H's vocals aren't as good as on previous albums, but he still manages to perform well even if his voice is showing aging (not unlike Fish, whose voice has completely changed over time). The album also takes a political stance with songs like The Last Century For Man, which has an oblique lyrical theme and a chorus that has sarcasm and sincerity all in one fell swoop. The concluding piece to the album, Faith, has been played by the band for many years prior to the release of this album, and it's gentle acoustics and fragile vocal performance from Hogarth really act as a fitting conclusion to the album.

Musically, the band is more focused on songwriting than soloing at this point. Rothery still cuts loose on a few key moments on the album, but his playing is more restrained and focused on creating stellar atmospheres (something he's always be quite proficient at). Mark Kelly also has a prominent role on this album, his quirky keyboards often compliment Rothery's guitar work quite well and add another impressionable element to the music. The rhythm unit of Mosley and Trewavas don't let up either, both offer well conceived and integral performances at just the right time. In all, instrumentally this album is a perfect example of a band working as a team in trying to create cohesive and melodic/catchy songs. In this department, Marillion rarely fails.

In conclusion, Somewhere Else isn't the masterpiece Marillion fans were hoping for after nearly 3 years of waiting. It's filled with some great moments, but at the same time one can't help but feel somewhat underwhelmed by some of the songs presented. Sure, Most Toys might be a fine song, but in the context of the album, it could have been more fleshed out and might have used a bit more refinement (in my opinion, at least). It's also a bit disheartening seeing that there are no truly "progressive" pieces on the album (unlike Marbles, which had a fair share of stellar prog songs), but in spite of that, Marillion have created something here that has enough substance and style to satisfy any fan of the band (with Hogarth, Fish purists will probably not find much to enjoy with this album). I'd rate it somewhere between 3.5 and 4 stars, so I'll round it up to a deserved 4/5

Report this review (#119528)
Posted Tuesday, April 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars First of all I must say that this is indeed a fantastic album. Maybe not at first listen but when you get to the point to interiorize all this has to offer you realize how good it is. The only problem I see is that everybodyv tends to compare it with its predecesor Marbles which is one of those absolute masterpieces to appear once in a decade. Anyway I repeat this is fantastic stuff full of great songs as the opener The Other Half or my favorite song here A voice from the past or the tittle song Someweher Else. To me these are the greatest moments along with the powerfull The Wound. I strongly recommend everybody to listen carefully and give it a chance for I assure you that with every listen another details appear which make it greater. I have listened to it a lot of times but I am still willing every day to get at home at night to listen to it once more. If only there would be another Neverland here I am sure there would be lots of 5 stars reviews. Anyway I believe it deserves 4.5 stars which I will round up to 5 stars.
Report this review (#119794)
Posted Thursday, April 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars In my eyes, following up the masterpiece of Marbles is no small feat. While many have criticized the latter albums from the h-led Marillion for being too poppy or rambling, it seems that the band needed the epic of landscape of Marbles to focus on a new sound. Marillion has never made the same album twice, but some ideas on Somewhere Else are reminiscent of their previous albums, and seem to be a maturation of these ideas. What Marillion has created with Somewhere Else is not a masterpiece, but it is a very focused and powerful album.

The opener "The Other Half" sets the tone right way. The song is perfect, with Rothery leading the charge on a quick and strong solo. h's vocals are shimmering, frequently hitting notes in the height of his range. It's one of the best songs on the album - a dignified rock song, and classic Marillion. Guitar and piano are extremely prevalent throughout the entire album, and they are put to good use. "See It Like A Baby" starts with a somewhat dark tone, with Pete Trewavas' bass thankfully present in the mix. This song is packed with a layered sound and Kelly's keyboards fluttering beneath Mosley's tight drumming. Rothery once again delivers a delightfully wicked solo.

"Thankyou Whoever You Are" is disappointingly standard for the band, sounding a bit like "One Fine Day" from This Strange Engine. It never really breaks away from the chorus and the only memorable part is another quick solo from Rothery. Still, it's a pretty song. The following was a track that I feared, "Most Toys". The band released a video before the release of the album, and it had a very sickly sound. Here, Rothery's guitar is more cleaned up and h's vocals are more polished. This is one of the weaker songs on the album, but it's far from awful and ends quickly.

Highlighted in this track though, is the simplicity and repetition of lyrics found on much of Somewhere Else. It doesn't detract from the music, especially because h is singing with his usual passion, but it is worth noting. Lyrically, the most impressive song is the title track - which could also be the best song on the album. It kicks off with powerful piano and delves into a painfully personal account of Hogarth's divorce, who sings with amazing presence. After the ballad-like beginning, the song shifts gears when strings launch forward into a keyboard riff. After a steady build-up of tension, Rothery erupts with scorching guitar around h's cries. It's a remarkable song.

The beautiful "A Voice From The Past" also begins with a somber piano line. The track steadily builds beneath layers of keyboards before h sings alone, and is quickly re- joined by the rest of the band in a stirring climax. "No Such Thing" features distorted vocals and moves at a slow pace, recalling Radiation's "House". This song is more atmospheric than any other on the album, and works for what it is. What follows is the lengthy "The Wound". It begins rather intensely, and I don't care for the chorus. The track shifts around midway with more prominent keyboards and slowly fades away to the unsettling sound of crying.

h then sends a shamelessly political message with "The Last Century For Man". The lyrics are straightforward, but the vocals and music take a more elegant approach. Eventually swells of strings and diving keyboards signal the end of the track. An atmospheric wind serves as a gap before the album closer, "Faith". Much more in vain of "Made Again" than "The Space..." or "King", the song does a good job of ending things with an optimistic grace. Though the beginning is a pretty acoustic riff accompanied by sweet singing, the song jumps to life a couple minutes in. "Neverland"- like chimes and keyboards are overlaid strong bass and guitar work. The finale is softened with nostalgic horns and strings, and the song comes to a glorious end.

Somewhere Else is Marillion's most mature album. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts, and the work seems concise and focused. The production is a far-cry from the infinite depth and clarity of Marbles, but the sound here is much more open. The entire band is playing at the top of its game. Somewhere Else grows with every listen, which can't be said for a lot of albums.

Report this review (#119985)
Posted Friday, April 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This has proved to be a difficult album to 'get'. On first listen it didn't so much as wash over me as pass me by completely. My fault for giving it the first listen on my work PC whilst writing a report! Having lived with the album now for the best part of three weeks I feel I am now in a position to review it.

As a follow up to Marbles this was always going to suffer from high expectations. The good news is that whilst it is not as strong as Marbles, it is one of Marillions better albums and features a classic track to boot!

The Other Half is a great opener with a great heavy start which changes halfway into something more... Marillion! You can tell it's them with great guitar and keyboards fighting Hogarth's passionate vocals for attention.

See It Like A Baby was the single and is a great slice of pop rock which should have been massive if it hads been given airplay but as usual the British radio refuses to give Marillion any chance!

Thankyou Whoever you Are is the next single and a change of pace. A gentle and summery track which slowly builds a-la Fantastic Place and features a great chorus. Hogarth's vocals really shine on this one.

Most Toys is a straight out rocker and is part of the next single release (a double A side!). Great lyric on this straight ahead song. Oh and NO guitar solo! Very PIL!!!

Somewhere Else. This is a true classic. Building slowly in power it subsides then builds again. Spine chilling in it's simplicity until the final third of the song when it bursts forth to it's heavy climax. The standout track on the album!

A Voice From The Past is another one of those Marillion magic pieces. A simple piano refrane slowly builds in power until the spine tingles again at the point of "someone elses pain," and is another standout track.

No Such Thing is a simple repetitive guitar loop and a mantra of a lyric. I was not sure about this track and it was the one that took the longest to 'get'. About 2:30 the song comes alive and shows it's true potential before a long slow fade back to quiet. Many fans seem to like it but just as many seem to find it a little boring as it doesn't seem to go anywhere.

The Wound is another potential classic and typical Marillion track. A song of two parts the first half is very aggressive before settling down into an almost hypnotic groove. Hogarths vocal performance is all passion and really makes this song shine.

The Last Century For Man is a return to that summery feel and is a languid stroll for the band, very bluesy. The lyric seems quite at odds to the gentle mood by commenting on how we are going to be the death of ourselves! A great chorus again cements this song a one of the better ones by the band.

Faith is the definitive version of a song that they played live on several occasions and is a left over from Marbles. It is a great song but I find the live version to be my preferred version!

The production is crystal clear and ian Mosely's drums are much higher up in the mix which is great as often they are so muted you could almost do without them. The Rothery Solos are kept short and serve the music and the overall impression of the album is economy rather than excess. The result is an album that is a real grower and given airplay will bring in new fans aplenty! An excellent addition to any music collection and only just missing out on classic status. In a world without half stars I will round the score up to five. The reality is that only No Such Thing denies this album a true five star rating. But lets face it, it's worth buying just for the title track. The rest is icing on the cake!

Report this review (#120449)
Posted Tuesday, May 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars oh dear...

"somewhere else" has just superseded my now 16 year old "least favourite" marillion album. but while "holidays in eden" had stirring pieces like "splintering heart", "the party" (glad they dug that one out during the "marbles" tour) and the "this town/the rake's progress/100nights" trilogy as well as "cover my eyes" (one of the better attempts of the band at going pop), this collection of dirges - and in my ears it is no more than that - seems to go nowhere and bears little hint of any lasting effect except the constant desire to switch off after the first few songs and move on to more pleasant things. and to think this took them up to three years...

so, what went wrong? musically there is very little to complain, after all, the wonderful people that make up my all time favourite band have gone some way in developing a tasteful, onward-looking way of writing and playing. this album definitely belongs to steve rothery, his noted soaring soloing and chiming soundcaping is complemented by all the pleasant sound experiments that he has fashioned for himself during the last couple of years - at times not a million miles away from post rock - and nothing he does ever seems out of place here. the album has some excellent ensemble playing although i sometimes wonder if they left mark kelly down the pub when recording.

no, the main offender this time around is our good beloved friend mr. H! some sources state that he has had quite a rough time recently and it is inapppropriate to go further into that here. but while he had been known as an outrageously evocative singer and lyricist - and the best thing that could have ever happened to the band in that dreaded year 1988 - this time around he seems to have restricted his emotiveness to a constant onslaught of whining and nagging. and i don't have a problem with any voice that is starting to show its age. that's natural. but, combined with many lyrical themes, this is also becoming an issue for me.

we all know that steve hogarth and his mates are very comfortable at being advocates for simplicity, naturality, modesty and what else in these oversaturated, bloated, ultracapitalist times - and rightly so! but constant nannying in tracks like "see it like a baby" (oh my, an ode to simplicity) or "most toys" (bad bad consumption. well, who buys the albums then?) or ever "no such thing" (although one of the better tracks) slowly have an opposite effect on me. and the ultra-sappy "thank you whoever you are" with the album's most annoying vocal (anyone in for some - take note, marillos! - self-indulgence???) literally makes me cringe. i could go on and on and i would have, if i hadn't stopped myself right here.

the best song, i suppose, has to be "the wound", which combines some of the traditional (oh dear, another forbidden word) marillion-trademarks with a fresh approach and where everything is nicely balanced and even steve h. seems to choose a more subdued approach to create that marillion-wall-of-sound that we all love. but after depressing myself to tears with "the last century for man" (yes, i WILL jump out of that window today. maybe.) i hardly ever make it through "faith" because i just lost interest in it all.

i still love this band. i still love the people that make up this band. if i met them in the street i'd buy a round of drinks for them in no time. i probably even love them for albums like this, because it shows that they are very human. they make mistakes. "somewhere else" is a mistake. the announcement on the last booklet page that the next album will be out in a year's time is not yet a dreaded prospect to me. but i will probably never play this album again.

two stars because there are some genuinely good moments on there. two stars because you'll probably have to endure a lot of hearache to discover them. really, before finding a "better way of life" at marillion.com, get a life first.

Report this review (#120709)
Posted Friday, May 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars After the excellent Anoraknophobia and Marbles, could Marillion surprise us again? Sadly, no. This album fails to do it for me - frequently weak lyrics (usually a Marillion strong point) and a mix I don't particularly like. The Other Half is a promising start and is the most consistently good track on the whole album. There is a well balanced mix and a good bounce to it. Part of the way through it breaks with a characteristic Marillion change of pace and style dropping into a piano-led part before picking up again. Nice Rothery guitar work with a classic solo at the end. Great stuff - similar in many ways to 'Between You and Me' off Anoraknophobia.

See It Like A Baby has the feel of several tracks on the Marillion.com album - pleasant but instantly forgettable. It really does nothing for me. I also disliked the drum sound on this track which then reappears elsewhere on the album. Thankyou Whoever You Are One of the most popular songs amongst Marillion fans off the album, 'Marbles', is the track 'Take Me The Island'. When recording that song the band thought that it couldn't be made to work. Producer Dave Meegan forced the band to work though it and they ended up with an excellent song. For this album, Marillion seem to have tried to replicate that song. Thankyou has similar sounding instrumentation, similar slow pace and overall similar feel and structure. Although pleasant enough, it all sounds just a bit dated. Whilst 'Island' had moving words, these seem so much weaker. Worse still, Mr Hogarth seems incapable of singing the word "Thankyou" half the time seeming to sing "sank you" instead. To make matters worse, once it has been pointed out to you, you find yourself straining to listen to every chorus to see whether he will sing it right. The song has another nice Rothery solo just before the final rousing chorus of "sank you's". Overall a pleasant but dated song.

Most ToysOops, what happened here? If someone were to compile a "Worst of Marillion" album there can be no doubt this will be on there along with classics such as 'Built In Bastard Radar' and 'Hope for the Future'. The endless repetition of the hardly deep insight that "he who dies with the most toys is still dead" is boring. The whole track sounds like some terrible school band. The best part of this track is its brevity coming in at only 2:48.

With Somewhere Else we come to the second truly good track on the album and the longest at almost eight minutes. The words were written by Steve Hogarth one Christmas Eve following the break up of his marriage; this one really hurts and has some of the most powerful lyrics on the album. Unfortunately, it is slightly spoilt by having some of weakest ones too. The song starts with a piano driven series of chords with h questioning the good of being in a band and the "thin line between love and hate". Then, about three minutes in, we have some of the most cringe worthy rhyming I have ever heard - Taurus, Thesaurus and Chorus. I guess that h thought he was being clever when he wrote those, but the whole verse sounds out of keeping with the overall tone of the song weakening the whole effect. The dreadful verse is repeated again but with the vocals heavily processed and added bleeps giving the feel that it is being beamed down from a spaceship. This leads on to more weak lyrics about floating around in space. The music works here, but not the lyrics. However, suddenly the song takes on a life of its own and the last couple of minutes are Marillion at their best with the emotion of the lyrics coming through powerfully. I cannot help but feel that with more work this could have been one of their best songs ever.

A Voice From The Past is a slow song that yet again starts with the piano and h singing over it. A song about how we relate to others in our world, especially those in poverty. Again the song has some sections of weak lyrics and it takes over three and a half minutes before it reaches its strong section. Another great Rothery guitar piece towards the end.

No Such Thing is quite possibly the most boring song that Marillion have ever managed to produce. Rothery lays down a slow guitar loop over which Steve Hogarth (with a highly processed voice) sings "There's no such thing" lots of times. Steve Hogarth says that they nearly didn't include it on the album - they shouldn't have bothered trying to save it.

The Wound After the last two slow ones, we get upbeat again. The overall sound is very much like that of the 'Radiation' album. The song is in two parts which work well together. The same strange drum sound/mix is present, but this time it works with the style of the song. It finishes with some very odd breathing down the microphone which sounds like someone about to break into tears. Again, with more direction, this could have been an excellent song.

And at that point the album ends. Well not really. But you wouldn't miss too much if you skipped the last two tracks. But here they are anyway.

The Last Century For Man When I heard this live, before the album was released, it sounded like a chaotic mess with appallingly bad lyrics. I could only assume it would be much better on the disc. It isn't. It's a slow dirge for nearly six minutes telling us we are destroying the world and we act as if we don't care. The lyrics really are as bad as they appeared at the gig and I cannot stand the "God Bless ..., I mean it" lines in the chorus. That 'Worst of Marillion' album has another entry.

Faith Having heard this song twice at one of the Marillion conventions it was a sigh of relief that it wasn't included on Marbles. Unfortunately, the band seem to think it is good and so put it on here instead. The song is initially an acoustic guitar ballad (guitar played by Pete Trewavas, I think, who normally plays bass) with a bit of a Beatles-esque feel to it. At about 1:45 the rest of the band comes in sounding dreadful all really low-fi - those awful drums and this time some terrible bass sound too. The song ends with the addition of a French Horn which, apart from sounding totally out of place is mixed far too load. The sound quality on this track is extraordinarily different from the rest of the album. It sounds much more intimate and close-up. A check of the liner notes shows it was recorded the year before the rest of the album.

Steve Hogarth has said that the original plan was for an EP of four or five tracks. Careful selection could have produced what would have been an enjoyable EP. Instead we have what sounds in places more like a demo tape. I don't like the production, finding myself straining at times to hear any bass at all and wishing I could turn the drums down slightly and vocals up slightly. There is a set of five photos of the band members in the middle of the album lyrics that is laid out as if someone is missing. I can't help but feel that the missing person is Dave Meegan who produced the excellent 'Brave' and 'Marbles'.

The album may appeal to someone who really liked 'Radiation' and 'Marillion.com' as there is a lot of similarity in the sound and style, but for the vast majority of followers of the band though, you have to be honest, this just isn't that great.

It's hard for a Marillion fan to say this but 2.5 stars would be the score I would give. As I don't like the mix and overall sound, I'll round that down to an embarrassing 2 stars.

Report this review (#121817)
Posted Saturday, May 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This 2007 release by Marillion has the disadvantage to come after the astonishing "Marbles". The album is not bad, but the inspiration, pathos and feelin seem low. It seems as they took something from their old composing sessions and put all together in this album. You may say...there's a lot of bands which do the same (as IQ, PENDRAGON, etc.) but Marillion is the history of Neoprogressive and we always expect more from this talented group. Anyway not all is to throw in the fishes: Hogarth is always a great singer, and Rothery shows also in this album his great feeling on guitars. The opening track is very aggressive, the title track is great, very intense and Hogy sings in his best way, and " A Voice from the Past" is very very great. But only three songs over the average in a ten track CD is too poor. At the end we can say: Where is the Marillion latest album? Somewhere else. 3 stars hoping for the future (since they say there'll be a sequel the next year)
Report this review (#123461)
Posted Saturday, May 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I had limited expectations of this album, following the amazing "Marbles", and I am so very relieved that I was proven wrong-- "Somewhere Else" is the only Marillion album that could ever hope to follow-up such a masterpiece... and, in it's own way, actually come close to matching it. "Somewhere Else" is excellent!

Trimming things down a bit, the band has created an outstanding set of songs with the similar tone/style which made "Marbles" what it was. Their playing is so professional and natural that every note oozes emotion, in a laid-back, thinking-adult manner. The songs are-- of course-- a mixture of the uplifting and saddening, with h and Rothery delivering some of their best melodies ever. Guitar solos, which are few but stellar, are very simple and powerful, and fit nicely in the textural framework created by the rhythm section. Kelly creates some of his best atmospheres ever, and I was especially impressed by the drumming of the often overlooked Ian Mosely.

But, no Marillion review would be complete without talking about h's vocals, which cut to the core like none other. His performances are just getting better and better, and I am far from embarrassed to say that I am moved regularly by his singing.

"Somewhere Else" stands by the band's best (honestly!), and is perfect for new comers and lone-time fans alike.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 4 Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Report this review (#125909)
Posted Friday, June 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Somehow Less (attractive) .

This time I did not pre order the album like the one I did with "Marbles" in 2004. So, my name is definitely not printed in the booklet. It's okay. It's because I was a bit disappointed with promise broken on Marbles where the music was just delivered 100 minutes instead of 120 minutes as it was said during advertising of the album. So I did not want to repeat a mistake. My decision is definitely RIGHT. This album is just going nowhere. Nope! It's not a bad album at all, but it's completely a boring one to enjoy in its entirety! Guaranteed, you will fall asleep listening to this album after track 4. There are basically no ups and downs in the musical expression of the band. Come on, Mr. Hogarth, what has happened to you? Wake up and make much better music! Where is my "Drilling Hole"? You do not deliver any song as great as "Drilling Hole" or "Neverland" or "Invisible Man" this time and I'm a bit disappointed. The music is just so flat and so boring .

Through this album Marillion has been stagnant in their music approach and style which is very close to the Anoraknophobia album, even less attractive, I would say. The overall tone of the album has failed to stir my emotion and I tend to fall asleep enjoying this album. I have spun the album more than eight times and I still cannot get the music. Yeah, there are some interesting stuffs but there are no "soul" at all. It seems like I enjoy light pop music. There is no great interlude or interesting musical segments to enjoy. Steve Rothery's guitar solo is quite minimum and also Mark Kelly's keyboard work. There is an interesting jazzy shoot at the opening track "The Other Half" (4:24) but it's not really catchy. It's good for a break. And then what?

"See It Like A Baby" is also too poppy but nothing is so special compared to previous album's pop song "You're Gone". In fact, I cannot find catchy track like "Don't Hurt Yourself" (Marbles) in this album. "Somewhere Else" is good but again it does not demonstrate any energy or drive at all. "No Such Thing" is truly a boring track. "The Last Century For Man" is trying to keep up with "Neverland" kind of music but it does not reach an expected level at all.

Overall, I would rate this album as 2.25 stars out of 5. It's probably good for those who enjoy Anoraknophobia album but it's not good for those who want to compare with "Marbes" or "Brave". I would think twice to order the next 15th album that the band has planned to release June 2008. I will only purchase the album after I listen to the music from friends first. I don't want to be disappointed .. again. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#126135)
Posted Sunday, June 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars The patient has survived ;)

This is actually the third Marillion album I had listened to... later I listened to the others. In comparison with the fantastic "Season's End" or the epic "Brave" it may seem to be a mediocre album. However I've taken into consideration all studio albums after "Afraid of Sunlight" and I found none in which more than half of the tracks would be worth listetning. Furthermore... I found that not more than two (sometimes three) songs could be rated as "good". It's a bit different in "Marbles" though... but the over-10-minute tracks are highly experimental (for Marillion that is) and some of the people that like the band could find them too strange. If "Marbles" was the experiment than "Somewhere Else" is the outcome. I may gladly admit the patient survived ;-) And he no longer suffers from anoraknophobia, internet addiction nor is he radiated ;-). OK, let's put the jokes aside.

I would recommend Somewhere Else (aside from another album with an identical acronym) to all starting their journey with Marillion. The 'journey' is a good word to describe this album. Many of the songs pick up the subjects of movement or change:

"And I'm falling But I'm rising.. Downwards into blue sky." - The Other Half

Aren't these lyrics kind of strange? "downwards into (...) sky"... yup. This is another thing I love about this album. Hogarth has finally written some really intelligent ambiguous metaphorical lyrics. If he keeps up the good work by 2020 he might even write something similar to "Fugazi". Oh... and Marillion's 'love songs' are no longer so shallow as "No one can" or "Hooks in you". If someone's interested these are: "The Other Half" (one of my favourites), "See it like a baby" and "Thank you whoever you are" (also "Faith but that's a totally different story). The former is the fastest and more rock-like, the latter are a bit slower but the sound of Rothery's guitar releases their darker, sometimes, more depressive sides. And the guitar solo in the first song is fantastic... something like playing a waltz on a distorted guitar... It's too short however, like asking "shall we dance" in the fourth minute of a 4:23-long song. That could be excused, but not "See it like a baby" which shows no emotions at all and the chorus is sung just for the chorus' sake - mindless repetition of the same sentence. The worst song on the album in my opinion.

The 'love song' part is separated from the more progressive songs with "Most Toys". It seems that this one doesn't fit the album but it's a surprisingly good track. Not because of the lyrics or the tune - actually because it's totally opposite to all Somewhere Else songs. It doesn't have catchy lyrics, but I think it is so to suit the decorum rule - noisy, sometimes gibberish lyrics in a noisy song... oh and this song IS noisy. You can hardly tell when the tunes change, moreover it's hard to find another song in which the vocal is more tuneful than the guitar. It's like King Crimson's "Happy with what you have to be happy with" only better.

The best is yet to come. Somewhere Else and A voice from the past - two excellent gloomy songs. The latter perhaps the most cheerless. This is fully the outcome of the "Marbles" experiment. Quite long, but not too long, musically excellent. The band gives you all it has. Overuses nothing and forgets nothing.

Well, the next three tracks are not as good as the rest of the album... but each one has something to give you. "No such thing" Another gloomy song. But no sensations here. Maybe there's no such thing as an album filled with excellent songs? If Hogarth's voice were an instrument, this could have been a good instrumental. It's a bit better than mediocre. "The Wound" now that one has a kick, and nice lyrics. It consists of two parts - the more aggressive and the slower, more tuneful. If someone's in the right mood (or has cut himself ;-) ) he may enjoy it.

"Faith" is the band's return to the early model of "at least one acoustic ballad per album". Marillion returned surely in the positive way. Faith is calming, joyful and interesting. Quite like "Made again" (a bit less meaningful, but that doesn't mean it's not excellent). It lacks the solo and the thrilling ending of "After Me" or "Easter" but it's even better, because it sounds originally while losing nothing of it's cheerfulness or the calm mood.

Overall the album is technically superb. Nonetheless it seems the guys paid half the attention they should to some tracks. No huge mistakes and some really excellent piece of music.

Best Song: Somewhere Else Worst Song: See It Like a Baby

Report this review (#128132)
Posted Wednesday, July 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
lor68
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Well, by excluding the old derivatives album in the vein of Peter Gabriel with Genesis (the Fish era I mean...), I think of the peek of creativity represented by their best concept album entitled "Brave", as well as to such good performances within the recent emotional "Marbles"...obviously if you're a fan of this hybrid music stuff in between the neo pop progressive of the nineties and the melancholic alternative rock nowadays, this latter music genre anyway being more shifted to pop rock, you could be indifferent; but actually such mentioned remarkable albums stand alone as the unique original episodes of a controversial career (remember the recent disappointing "Anoraknophobia" for instance or their usual albums focused on the vocals by S. Hogarth,being very "pop rock"- oriented). Therefore Marillion have arranged them in an elegant manner, but adding anything new or particular fresh in comparison for example to the mainstream approach of similar experimental pop rock bands in the USA (do you remember the recent albums by Echolyn or those ones by a few US bands like that??...). Anyway at the end you can find some remarkable chorus (like within "Last Century For Man" or once again within the controversial "Most Toys", characterized by some rough melodic lines), but their effort is a little bit pretentious. Also "No Such thing" is not a bad song, with its psychedelic mood and perhaps it's the most orginal track of the album along with "The Wound" , this latter being quite fascinating after all!

So if you have appreciated "Afraid of Sunlight" you can't stay far away from the present "S.Else", even though the folky number of the last track doesn't represent the conclusive epic number you should expect; nevertheless it could be an easier way to make the recent issue by Marillion split from the general mediocrity of modern mainstream nowadays...

Report this review (#132617)
Posted Saturday, August 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
2 stars I hadn't heard a full Marillion album since This Strange Engine (almost a decade ago), so when I picked up Somewhere Else at the library, I was a tad curious but still wary of the group's 90's and 00's legacy. Having heard of their brave and courageous risk-taking of having the fans pre-order the Marbles album in order to record it, I have never heard it, despite some glowing reviews. Partly because it had been a longtime since I had actually liked much what I heard from the group (Brave was the last thing I cared for), and I wasn't expecting that much either from this latest album (Somewhere Else), but hoping to be pleasantly surprised, I brought it home to have a listen to it.

Surprised I certainly was!! Whether it was pleasantly is a whole different ballgame!!!! I actually had to pop out the disc from my deck to make sure this was the correct album, but such was the case, so I put it back in, and tried to remember when I last took hallucinogens. This being almost two decades ago, I ruled out a relapse, and had to convince myself that the neo-prog flagship group was trying to jump the shark (or ship) to join the alternative/indie boat. Indeed, I could've sworn that this was a Radiohead album (I know, can't really call RH indie anymore, but WTF). Never having been a Hogarth fan, I now am faced with his dreadful choice to sound like Thom Yorke, but doing a second or third class rendition of it, rendering a proper listening of the album difficult and downright painful by the end of it. While not familiar with their full discography with Hogarth in the line-up, no doubt this one ranks among the weakest with Afraid Of Sunlight, Anoraknophobia and Holidays In Eden.

Set on an urban/wildlife spectacle landscape duel artwork, it wasn't directly obvious whether there was a thematic link between the songs, and to tell you the truth, over the week it was a semi-regular rotation, I didn't care to find out. I was simply too appalled by the feeble effort developed (especially on the poor title track) throughout the album, but there is only The Last Century For Man that seems to find any kind of grace to this listener's ears. Well, the least I can say is that my return to Marillion's musical kingdom was not a very impressive one? The whole album's production seems a bit flat, with reduced dynamics and annoying sonorities, some of which are easily identifiable. In fact the album is very much reminiscent of another weakie Afraid Of Sunlight, which had followed a strong Brave effort

Report this review (#133016)
Posted Tuesday, August 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars It hasn't been an easy ride with Marillion music -probably for the last decade. Now after spending sometime listening to their latest effort, Somewhere Else, guess it never will be an easy ride. The gloomy is there, the moodiness is there. The slower tempo is there (too slow at most points). Hogarth unsurprisingly sings his heart out on all songs. But something is not quite right, something is misplaced. It's the musicianship that is lacking in most songs. Mind you, they're all undoubtedly great musicians. However, Somewhere Else feels more as a vocals-driven album rather than a music-driven one. Out of ten tracks here, how many times Rothery puts out his killer and soulful solos? Where's Pete's groove? They seem to be more as backup musicians for Hogarth.

The album itself kicks off with the best 2 tracks, "The Other Half" and "See It Like A Baby". The musicianship might be lacking but Hogarth throws in some of his best lyrics here. It is my personal favourite phrase when he sings, "...I am the other half/and you are what I am for/...the other half cannot be parted...". Other Hogarth's penned lyrics on "No Such Thing", "The Wound", or "Faith" are among his best to date. Unfortunately the music was marginally attractive. First few spins without reading the lyrics, it's difficult to get to the end of the journey. The high hopes surrounding the first 2 tracks gradually fades as you're entering the mid-phase of it.

You might need a certain mood to be able to chew it? Yes, sure...but this one is not an easy ride and probably never will. As much as I am happy with Anoraknophobia (2001) and Marbles (2004), Somewhere Else might be as much as somewhere else than anything else of theirs. It is now a question if they're going to stay there or still pushing their boundaries far beyond. I believe it will be the later though. (yd)

Report this review (#133155)
Posted Tuesday, August 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars After over a decade of exploration in search of the sound of the H-era Marillion experience, it seemed like the band found just their niche with their previous album, "Marbles." I'd be writing an entirely different introduction if their latest album, Somewhere Else, turned out to be a total departure from the sonics of marbles, but it is in fact very similar. There is a slight watery, airy, ethereal tone to the guitars and keyboards on Somewhere Else, as if the band is much more into atmospherics than on an album like Afraid of Sunlight. This continues the trend Marbles set in motion. The mixing is flawless on Somewhere Else as well, accentuating the bright tones of the album and giving it a very summery feel. Whether I'll be in the mood for this kind of feeling in the dead of winter remains to be seen, but I have a feeling Somewhere Else will be a seasonal album in my collection.

Unlike Marbles, however, is Somewhere Else's lack of extended songs. You'll find no "Ocean Cloud," "Neverland," or "Invisible Man" here. We get a poppier, more streamlined selection of songs. Very few songs on Somewhere Else develop over time; most let you know where they're going straight away. The ultimate impression is a cutting back on progressive elements (indulgences?) to create something...more accessible, perhaps. After all, this is the first Marillion album I've seen during a casual browse through the aisles of an unnamed mega-corporate electronics store. For some, this truth may be ugly and unwelcome. For others, the opposite may apply. But let me assure all parties that Somewhere Else is a collection of songs. Very good, distinct songs. Some are more progressive than others, but all have redeeming quality. Is Somewhere Else a disappointment after Marbles? Yes, but greatness is so hard to follow up sometimes. 3.5/5

Report this review (#133319)
Posted Wednesday, August 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars GOOD BUT...

If this album was released a few years before maybe the rate would be higher. After their Marble-ous last record I think we all were expecting something at least near that standard. Unfortunately it wasn't the case. This is way far from the quality and emotion created in albums such as BRAVE, AFRAID OF SUNLIGHT or MARBLES. Is not exactly a bad album, and maybe with the years could grow in me as it happened with BRAVE that lasted some time for me to digest it completely and later on became one of my favorites, but to be honest, I really doubt it.

One of the elements I'm missing is the progressiveness. Of course many of the Marillion 'H' era detractors would say that they already lost that part before, but not for me. I accept that they took a different route since H steered the band having more pop and alternative ingredients but NEVER forgetting their Progressive side. In this last effort they didn't totally forget it but is less preponderant. It seems they wanted to take a similar direction that they did with MARBLES but I think they took as reference the weaker parts of that album (which are little), using the less complex and lighter (poppier) songs as example. Also I hear I slight approach to the RADIATION/THIS STRANGE ENGINE era that could be the worst thing to do in the opinion of many persons, but for me wouldn't be that bad since I enjoyed those albums, and if they had achieved at least the originality of some songs in those recordings.

It's very hard for me to rate an album like this that causes me opposite feelings. In one hand I find enjoyable moments in some songs and a couple of them being VERY good tracks, I think would be a bit unfair to rate it too low. If it was done by other band, for sure I would give it a good rating, but that's exactly the problem; so in the other hand, I feel they could do something superior knowing what this guys are capable of. At the end I think a 3 star would be the closest to the reality, being (just a little) complacent.

After all that I have said, I need to mention that I really enjoyed songs like "The Other Half", a good opener that made me think the album was going to take a different direction than the one actually taken, "Somewhere Else" is by far the best on the CD with a deep dark emotional feeling, and "The Wound", a great track with a good beat at the beginning and changing mood to an atmospheric one. These last 2 songs are the only ones that could compete with a MARBLES song. There are some other tracks not as good as but still decent like "See It Like a Baby", "Thankyou Whoever You Are" and "No Such Thing". The rest are good songs but are the kind that you forget once the album finishes.

The only thing I have left to say is that, although being a nice album, I feel it like one of their weakest efforts in the last few years.

Viva el Prog!

Report this review (#133946)
Posted Monday, August 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I guess that at this time of their career, there is nothing SPECIAL to expect form a Marillion Mark II studio release.

I guess that we'll get the same uninspired, insipid, dull vocals.

I guess that we'll get the same uniform and flavourless music.

I guess that lots of Marillion Mark II will cherish and praise this work.

I guess that I won't cherish and praise this work.

I guess that I'll end it up with a two-star rating.

I guess that, here and there I will like a song or two (maybe three ?).

My guess was right, I guess.

Oh yes. About the good songs. Well, the opener is not bad. It mixes different genre of music and at least it is not monotonuous. It's been a while since the band didn't please me as much ("This Strange Engine" probably). Rothery will play some great notes. The mood is rather optimistic (at least, I perceived it that way).

The rock ballad "Thank You WhoeverYou Are" is a very nice track : catchy melody and more than anything, it features a great guitar solo. But we all know how well Rothery can do that. I have said several times during this long Marillion (both Marks) reviewing process (39 works including this one) that he has saved the band several times with his great guitar play.

"Wound" sounds somewhat "Holiday In Eden ". It might be considered as another one of the few interesting songs of this album. It breaks the general mood with the usual rock / soft dual parts. Even hard at times. The beat is there and Rothery is again rather convincing in his guitar play.

Now, for the core of this album, we'll the usual stuff here : attempt to rock with "Most Toys", some ballads or ambient music (of which the acoustic "Faith" is not too bad) but mostly not appealing at all like "Somewhere Else" (dreaful), "See It Like A Baby", or "No Such Thing" (I bet you !). The dull Hogarth tone of voice at his max.

I saw a Marillion Mark II concert in December 2005 and could compare to the "Misplaced" Fish tour in April 2006. I can tell you, there are no comparison AT ALL. While Fish is communicative, a great showman, funny and so diverse in his vocals, the Hogarth man is introverted, absent, dull and so uniform in his vocals. I can't help. But this is my feeling and I felt like this almost instantly while the earthquake of the Fish departure took place.

Two stars.

Report this review (#137764)
Posted Tuesday, September 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I'm not a Marillion fan, never liked their music that much, anyway this album is more interesting than the previous one "Marbles", a really odd work. Of course "Somewhere Else" is not a masterpiece, to me it's a "ordinary amministration" album, I mean it's an album in the average, nothing more, nothing less. It's a good album with some good songs ("The Other Half", "Thank you Whoever You Are", "Somewhere Else", "The Last Century For Man") and some weaker moments ("Most Toys", "The Wound"). Maybe the fact of being so close to a standard definition of average album itself, could raise the question: "If that's the album nature, then it must be a little cold, and not so envolving when you actually listen to it..." and the answer would be: "Yes, it's cold, not emotional at all, anyway from a musical point of view, the songs are not so bad, so it's not a bad album, though it's not able to give you much emotions". With that said, the most correct definition to me is the third stars one: good, but not essential.

3 Stars.

Report this review (#139119)
Posted Wednesday, September 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars ...Somewhere Else.......Somewhere Else.......Somewhere Else...

What can I say? The band can still create great music. True, this is no masterpiece that was Tears and Childhood from the Fish age, nor the Brave or Marbles of the post Fish; but it still has some good sounds and music to it. It starts off with a kick in 'The other half' to get you into the album. It sucures a good foundation for the album. It keeps a very mellow up beat all the way through. 'See it like a Baby' keeps the mellow up beat feel that 'The other half' created. Its alittle too 'think of the children' for me lyricly, but musicly its not a bad peace. Same with 'Thank you Whoever you are'. Although it has a nicer sound than the preveuse track; even if I cant get over Hogarth's pernounsiation of Thankyou. Love the guy to bits, but would it kill him not to say Sankyou?

I always skip the next track 'Most Toys'. I can understand it's meaning and why it's on the album, but musicly, it just dose not fit. It gose directly against the grain of the album. Its very monotonuse and boring. Its too upbeat for the album and too 'hard'. They should have just left it on a single or something. It brings the album down from being a true masterpiece.

Well, if you can swagger through 'Most Toys' you'll enjoy the rest of the album; we go straight into the titled track of the album, and the longist song: 'Somewhere Else'. One of the more progressive songs on the album, it gose through the many changes we've come to expect from Marillion. This is one of the better songs, not just keeping in the stans of the general feel of the album, but also creating a sound that can stand on its own two legs. This song is quite beautiful and is a treat after the dreadful sound of 'Most Toys' (Ok, I will no longer rip on that song). But as a titled track, it stands up quite nicely and dose the album justise.

It then goes into 'A Voice from the Past', which keeps up the mellow sound thats very prominint through the album. Although it does not evolve very much musicly, at least as much as the 'Somewhere Else' dose. The same gose for 'No Such Thing'. Although this feels as though its alittle too preachy for me. It has alittle bit more progessive sound to it, but overall it can drag on.

'The Wound' is the second longest song on the album, and has more of an upbeat than the last two songs. Could it be that this is more then just a beautiful sounding song and have some head rocking powers? It can! It might just be the conrtasting sounds, but either way, it provides a nice upbeating sound. It also gose through a few changes but manages to keep it within a peramiter not to get it too out side of the box as 'Somewhere Else' did. Although this is a good point as well as a bad.

We then move into my favourit song on the album: 'Last Century for Man'. The lyrics are very moving at times. When I first listen to this song I thought 'Not another ani-amarican/we're killing out planet song'. But after a few spins, its much more then that. Hogarth isint so much preaching as just making an observation, which does my heart good. Nothings worse then a too preachie song. But Musicly, this song is beautiful; if I didn't know any better, I'd say there was some volume control at work at the Climax of the song. My only critique is this: the song is too short. They had a good thing going with this song and then they just finish it. Keep it going boys like you normaly do! Strech into the dubble digits for this one! Just carry on that sound. This song alone is so close to being a masterpiece within itself that it hurts me when I hear it end when they have so much potenctial at work.

From there we go into the very nice and soothing founds of 'Faith'. It's a very nice little ditty, and a good way to end the album. The sound and lyrics sum up what has been said throughout the album. Its something nice to consider. It also ends on a positive note, which is always nice these days.

Anyways....the album has this general sound. Its an upbeat mellow, which is good to calm down to, or play as background music. It keeps a general sound all the way through (except in one perticuler song noted earlier) which is a very rare occurince on albums. Its a good album to spin for anyone who just needs something light, nothing much too deep in the music, and wants nothing better then to ponder over a few good ideas and observations. Not a masterpiece in any sence of the word, but an excellent addition to any collection of music.

3.5 stars for great music.

Report this review (#141240)
Posted Sunday, September 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Surprisingly good!

I heard some terrible things about "Somewhere Else". I've never been much excited about H's MARILLION (except for "Seasons End"), but recently discovered "Afraid of Sunlight" has shortly become my favourite of the week! So I decided to give "Somewhere Else" a chance ;)

Don't sure if MARILLION really needs these hit singles and high positions in Top-100. I heard about their ambitious efforts, and I must admit, first half of the album works very well for me. Memorable hooks, cool tunes, modern sound (this COLDPLAY vibe in "See it like a Baby"), even ROCK in "Most Toys"! Unfortunately after seeing the pals who make such a nice modern music any teenager would think like "would these fat oldies serve as a role-model for me? Hell no, I choose Eminem!". Then MARILLION suddenly loses IT, and side B sounds bleak and boring (my favourite word for H's era ;) ). Only few songs, few bits from them touch me...but even though, it all equals 3 stars in my book - surprisingly good and enjoyable album as for H's post-"Brave" MARILLION. Do I need to check "Marbles"? Guess so...

Report this review (#153947)
Posted Monday, December 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I had a feeling I was really going to like this one. Most of the negative reviews describe this as lacklustre and boring, which is also the way they descibe bands I love like FRAKTAL, BAUER and GAZPACHO. And yes this has some great atmosphere to it at times just like those bands. I like what they say in the liner notes "Thankyou for buying this cd, whoever you are. Anoraks Rule.Turn the cities into families. Make poverty history". Amen guys. Actually it's the lyrics in these songs that probably impress me the most about this recording, and they do do some preaching about saving our planet.

"The Other Half" has such a great sounding intro as they start things off perfectly. A calm 2 minutes in with piano, light drums and bass. Then Rothery offers up a tasteful solo as emotional vocals follow. Great section. More good guitar 3 1/2 minutes in. "See It Like A Baby" features reserved vocals as bass and percussion stand out. The song does get more passionate, and check out the almost mournful guitar solo before 3 1/2 minuites. Another excellent tune. "Thankyou, Whoever You Are" opens with piano but the focus is on the vocals on this one. A laid back guitar solo before 4 minutes from Rothery. "Most Toys" is a fun, catchy track with meaningful lyrics.

"Somewhere Else" is mellow with some cool atmosphere to it. Hogarth shines in an understated way. Atmospheric guitar 4 minuites in. This is so emotional, then 6 1/2 minutes in the emotion just pours out of the band. "Voice From The Past" features more atmosphere and is also laid back. Check out the lyrics to this one. Hogarth cries "Dead but alive". This is a powerful, meaningful tune. Rothery's guitar comes bursting in like tears down his face. "No Such Thing" opens with processed vocals and a cool guitar line. Drums follow. The lyrics seem sarcastic to me because I think they are true. Love this track. "The Wounds" has more brilliant lyrics, perhaps the best of the lot. A powerful song in many ways. "The Last Century Man" is a biting song lyrically that is really a wake up call to us all. It's all about the lyrics on this one. "Faith" is mainly acoustic guitar and fragile vocals. We do get some french horn before 4 minutes though.

A very mature effort from these guys, and a worthy follow up to "Marbles".

Report this review (#169591)
Posted Friday, May 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
The Crow
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The confirmation of Marillion's return to form!

After the wonderful Marbles, they achieved to release another fine album, full with good songs, and clearly surpasing albums like Radiation. The style of Somewhere Else follows the path of Marbles, mixing the alternative influence the band acquired through the 90's, mixing them with some typical neo-prog sounds, and adding some new textures and ideas. The album is not very surprising... If you've heard Marbles, then Somewhere Else will not surprise you. But with this bunch of good songs, this fact is not really important.

The record opens with the best track Marillion has made in the last years... The Other Half deserves a golden place in Marillion's discography in my opinion. Wonderful lyrics, and an incredible final Rothery's guitar solo. I just love this track... See It Like a Baby is a good single, 100 % Marbles's Marillion. Sadly, Thank You Whoever You Are is just and Ok track, a bit weak and with a repetitive chorus... Fortunately, it has another great Rothery's solo in the middle section. This man rules in the whole album...

Most Toys take back the style of the Brave's rock songs... A funny track, but nothing in comparision with the following Somewhere Else. Very emotional lyrics, marvellous guitar layers and an in crescendo final part. Another awesome track... And almost so good is A Voice From the Past, with some good orchestral arrangements, with Mark Kelly's protagonism. No Such Thing is a bit strange... Is not the typical sentimentally slow Marillion track. It's different, and I like it. I specially enjoy the guitar melodies, and although this track is not really memorable, it provides variety.

But The Wound is another highlight... The beginning is a inspired rock punch, with catchy lyrics. But then, suddenly appears a great neo-prog section, having this song an awsome ending. Wonderful! The Last Century for Man is not so outstanding... But it's still a decent track, although the Hogarth's lyrics are a bit vain. Then comes Faith, to close this album brilliantly. It remembers me to Made Again from Brave... It's acoustic, the lyrics are about love, and the mood is similar. Proper ending for a very worthy album.

Best Tracks: The Other Half, See it Like a Baby, Somewhere Else, The Wound and Faith.

Conclusion: another good Marillion album. Maybe it's a kind of dissappointment after the masterful Marbles, but it's the quality of the music is undeniable. Of course, it is not in my top five Marillion's list... But it can be easily compared in terms of quality to albums like This Strange Engine. Somewhere Else is deep, is variated and it has some songs wich deserves to be Marillion's classics (The Other Half, Somewhere Else and The Wound...). Really good, and strongly recommended for Hogarth's Marillion followers.

My rating: ***

"I am with you all the time now... One soul. One mind. One heart. The other half can not be parted... From the other half".

Report this review (#181184)
Posted Sunday, August 31, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Well, here I am debating whether or not buying Happiness is the Road... I've been a fan of Marillion since the Incommunicado days and I own all of their albums plus some of their live recordings and DVDs. Yes, my name is on Anoraknophobia, which didn't fulfill me, and on Marbles, which is high on my Top 100 out of some 1000 CDs. Everytime I listen to Marbles I embark on a satisfying journey through different emotions, and as the last notes of Neverland fade away I feel emotionally drained but refreshed... So, what's the story with Somewhere Else? I bought it when it was launched, but I remember playing it once ot twice and strangely, the only thing I felt then was the urge to take the CD out of the stereo and spend the little free time I have listening to Something Else... Last week I gave it another chance. It happens to me that for some albums I need them to sink into the subconscious after 1 or 2 first frustrating listens, only to be happilly surprised next time I listened to them, which can be months later. Well, I must confess that I turned the stereo off after Most Toys... Life is way too short and money too scarce to be a completionist. This album lacks what Marbles shines on: emotion, soul, passion. The last nail on the coffin can be found on the last page of the booklet: with this album still warm from the press, Marillion was already focusing on Album 15... And what about the 14 made of flowers? That looks suspiciously like a funeral wreath to me. This album should be considered an EP-Singles one, not a studio album... And yes, I will download Happiness instead of paying a small fortune (at current exchange rates) for the real thing.
Report this review (#187276)
Posted Tuesday, October 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Unfortunately i have to agree with the previous review, especially about Marillion's decline since 1995 and Afraid Of Sunlight. It is good to import new elements of music to your sound, refresh it in some way, but in Marillion case it is more of a mutation than a refresh. Rush accepted many elements of the new wave movement at the early 80's and they had excellent results-but Rush kept the basic body of their music untouched which was the secret of their success. Marillion really lost their way and seem more like an alternative rock group than a progressive rock one they used to be! Marbles seems to be just an afterglow, an oasis within their last 14 years of released albums and of course it is quite far from their real magnum opus Brave. Anyway, Somewhere Else is exactly as its title implies...Marillion are somewhere else, far away from the roots of their progressive rock music... These seem-like opera glasses of the album cover really demonstrates the distance between Marillion's past to present...i am sure Steve Rothery needs them to watch the jester dancing in a an old garden party celebrating the season's end...
Report this review (#189853)
Posted Wednesday, November 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars When this record was first released, I didn't really care for it. I had downloaded it and wasn't too impressed. Having just purchased it a few weeks ago, I listened to it entirely.

I actually like it a lot more now. While I wouldn't rate it up there with Marbles, Brave, or Seasons End...there are several tracks that stand out for me. See it Like a Baby, SOmewhere Else, and The Wound are the 3 songs that REALLY let me know I listening to Marillion.

Not one of my favorite albums, but surely one I'd recommend to an aspiring fan of the band.

Report this review (#190288)
Posted Sunday, November 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
2 stars This is Marillion's weakest album in quite a while. I would even dare to say it's their worst ever. Similar to Radiation I have the impression that the album is made out of leftovers from the albums that preceded it. There isn't much that really sticks out. It all plods along at the a sleepy pace that makes all songs sound a lot longer then they actually are. And they are so predictable, all starting with Hogarth rambling over some pointless piano and guitar noodling and then shifting to over-emotional outbreaks that are as pointless as the quiet parts, only much more annoying... I really don't get how this album can get more reviews then Anoraknophobia. I see no reason whatsoever to even bother listening to it.
Report this review (#236905)
Posted Thursday, September 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Quiet One
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Somewhere between early Coldplay and Pink Floyd?

With the entrance of Steve Hogarth, Marillion changed radically their sound, clearly known to be less Prog Rock oriented, sometimes being Alt. Rock allthrough. Well, Somewhere Else is one entire Alternative Rock album. Unlike Marbles which showed the band trying too hard to sound proggy, Somewhere Else shows the "new" line- up playing what they can naturally play: damn great alternative rock.

I don't think Steve Hogarth fits to sing long suites, neither is the new style of the band meant to play long, complex tunes. Brave was superb because there was a concept behind the music, so the long songs were justified and sounded well, they weren't really complex either mind you. Well, with Somewhere Else, Marillion plays simple though catchy and well-played rock tunes and soft ones.

All the songs are strong and have something memorable, be it Hogarth's emotional and soft singing or Steve Rothery's Floydish guitar or even the nice piano chords which are present allthrough the record. Yes, the band's original Neo-Prog sound is gone with the exception of Rothery's guitar style, Mark doesn't play synths anymore neither does Peter Trewavas play thrilling bass lines, nor there is a theatrical singer or poetic lyrics, all that was great with Fish, though the band without him had to move on and I think they did greatly to move onto a different genre which they play so well.

Seriously, this album gives me a lot of enjoyment, however you must know that I've always tolerated Alt. Rock music with bands like Coldplay, Radiohead, Pearl Jam and the like, so it's not a surprise I like this era of Marillion quite a bit.

3 stars: if you're not keen at all about Alt. Rock music you better get away from this album, because that's all this album offers. Yet, if you do enjoy some non-prog music by "ex-prog bands", Somewhere Else is simply a great rock album that should be listened by any alt. rock fan .

Report this review (#285183)
Posted Saturday, June 5, 2010 | Review Permalink
lazland
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars An album which divides Marillion fans just as much as prog fans in general, Somewhere Else had the extremely unenviable task of following up one of the all time classic progressive rock albums, Marbles.

Let's say straight away that this album is nowhere near that league, but, then again, I wouldn't expect it to be. To be fair to the band, they have reached those dizzy heights on more than one occasion, especially with Brave and Misplaced Childhood, and many bands never even get there once.

That it is still a very good album, and that they, once again, attempted to move forward rather than merely copying a classic is a great credit to this band, and shows up the massive virtue of not being beholden to record company whims.

Actually, the opener The Other Half is an utter classic, with sensitive vocals and lyrics backed up by some exquisite Steven Rothery guitar work, but, unfortunately, these high standards are not consistently applied across the album as a whole.

See It Like A Baby was a single from the album, and is good, but, unfortunately, nowhere near as good as many of the more commercial tracks the band have performed over the years.

The album as a whole is a loose type of concept based around Steve Hogarth's marital difficulties at the time, and, as such, much of it has a slightly mournful and desolate feel to it. Even the next single, Thank You Whoever You Are, dealing with a romantic tryst, is very much rooted in the blues, as if H sincerely regrets what has happened, especially forgetting the lady's name, whilst all around him collapses.

Most Toys continues the band's proud tradition of social commentary, basically stating that you leave this earth with as much as you entered...nothing. It is a track that races along at a hundred miles an hour, but is perhaps too frenetic to be wholly effective.

The highlight of the album, for me, is the title track Somewhere Else, which deals directly with the loneliness and despair caused by divorce and living away from your loved ones. The lyrics are exceptionally sad and bittersweet. Many have commented on the fact that H doesn't do castrato very well. I disagree, and this, Kelly's piano, Trewavas's bass, Rothery's delicately understated guitar, and sensitive percussive work by Mosley combine to create an arid atmosphere which is almost too beautiful for words.

Elsewhere, there are solid enough tracks in Voice From The Past, the very thoughtful and bluesy No Such Thing, and The Wound. The final two tracks bring us a magnificent conclusion. The Last Century For Man continues the excellent series of tracks the band have made dealing with the threat of climate change, and Faith, a great acoustic track which ends the album on a high point, looking forward rather than back with a renewed sense of purpose and optimism. Of course, this was true with the band as well as Hogarth personally, because the following album, Happiness Is The Road, is another classic.

If you have this, and haven't spun it for quite a while, I would heartily recommend that you do. It is actually an album which stands up very well in isolation, away from comparisons with other monumental works by this quintessentially marvellous English band. If you don't have it, then it comes highly recommended. This band do not do bad, simple as that.

Three stars for this. Recommended for everyone who especially wish to hear easily the finest rock guitarist on the planet at the moment. The rest of them aren't half bad, either!

Report this review (#347890)
Posted Thursday, December 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars What I have here in my hand, is like Marbles, but definitely not Marbles.

Marillion have changed their sound quite a few times since they started. Even since Fish left. But any band, that has been around as long as they have, would at least be tempted, to try different things. With 2004's Marbles, they found a great sound, and with Somewhere Else, Marillion held on to some of that.

The problem is, they didn't hold on to enough. There are hints of Marbles here, but they're few and far between. They threw in all kinds of sounds on this one, but there is nothing to hold it all together. It makes for a very uneven listen.

"The Other Half" kicks things off well. A decent opening that probably has more in common with "Man of a Thousand Faces" than "The Invisible Man", but it barely has enough substance to sustain interest through its only four minute duration. But if "The Other Half" has any resemblance to the previous album, the next few tracks take you "somewhere else" for sure.

"See it Like a Baby", and "Thankyou Whoever You Are", don't seem to go anywhere. They have potential, but suffer from a lack of real development. "Most Toys" is a purely pop number, and it works well on that level, but it sounds like something off a completely different album (like marillion.com). Considering the running time of less than three minutes, it probably could have been left off this one, altogether.

On the other side of the coin, "Somewhere Else", could be an outtake from Marbles. Atmospheric, intelligent, powerful. This is the best of Marillion. But even at nearly eight minutes, it's all too brief. "A Voice from the Past" is another good piece, but this time, one that probably lasts a little too long. "No Such Thing", again, is quality music, but just doesn't go anywhere.

"The Wound" and "The Last Century for Man" are back to the pop formula, and remind you just how quickly Marillion can change their sound. "Faith", however, is a nice way to conclude things. It may not be a classic, but it will, at least, leave you with something pleasant. Enough to give you the "faith" that, Marillion might have it in them to make another great album.

Somewhere Else isn't a lot like Marbles, but it is a bit like faith.

Report this review (#568440)
Posted Tuesday, November 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars the kaleidoscope...

with "Marbles", Marillion had won over a lot of listeners and, though it isn't my personal favorite, delivered an album that for many - perhaps including themselves - was no less than a landmark, their masterpiece or whatsoever. What it really was... perhaps the one "identity card" ( see my review to "Anoraknophobia" ) that had got accepted the best, and for sure it was a hard one to follow up, cause no matter what album they would have come up with - in many respects they were doomed to fail, but the worst they could have done, imho, was try to repeat it. So, once more, the band had some questions to give an answer to... at least for me.

The first question was: Could they come up with a real sign of life to make sure their journey wasn't over yet ? The answer was "Somewhere else", an album made to confuse some lovers of its predecessor again, cause "Somewhere else", I can gladly report, was "someTHING else again"... though it may have had no easy birth.

The second question was: If progress goes any further, where will it take them this time ? And the answer given said: "We're staying true to ourselves and thereby we'll see where it goes, but we'll make sure it's going to sound different."

With Michael Hunter stepping in for Dave Meegan as a producer ( well, Michael wasn't that "new" at all for the band, he had been involved in making "Marbles" already as its mixer, but given the producer's role for the first time he added - introduced -his very own handwriting to the recording process as well, gladly, I suppose ) the band sounds more "modern" ( but less lush or "big" ) here, and I really had to get used to it first, cause in many ways what's "state of the art" nowadays doesn't please my ears at all, and "Somewhere else" is no exception. The natural rooms for reverb, just as any rooms in sound, especially the body, are smaller due to make place for more stuff in the middle, the compression - instead of really adding dynamics - tends to downpress the edges and make things sound flat instead of bright... typical things that started dominating the age of digital production. In many ways it's perfect but the final result refuses to sound perfect, while... elder productions that, if you speed them through modern equipment to watch their frequencies in never before available distinctiveness, make the oscillographs over-peak like crazy but damn... they sound bloody brilliant and alive ! The irony of it: Nowadays loads of specialists are working like never before in order to get back those "human" soundeffects into the world of digital recording. And they haven't arrived yet, though, in the meantime, things started to get a bit better again. Michael Hunter is the perfect example for a young engineer of the digital age straying for perfection - but therefore he can't be any better than the equipment allows him to.

Many parts of "Somewhere else" still sound fresh and alive, though... and that's mostly due to the band's creativity, I think. You may, as a prog-lover, not like stuff like "See it like a Baby" ( the first single ), but it's really good pop-music and one of the reasons why I like Marillion's wide range of styles, it's one more surprise to make sure they're still daring. And, honestly, it makes me forget the opener "The other Half", a tune that seems to have been desperately tinkered together to have a song but doesn't possess any real flow and therefore fails to please me at all... an exception on this album, I'm glad to say this, really, although I had read a lot of praises concerning this one in music-mags. Why ? I don't know. Those critics and me may have different priorities - but i wonder if they themselves are songwriters. You can almost feel the pains the musicians had by stitching it together - but it wasn't really worth the trouble. Perhaps the lyrics were so important to Hogie that he pushed himself ( or the others ) too hard, too far, but apart from the lyrics it's a forgettable one.

"Thank you whoever you are" is rather not, with its strange change of the time-signature coming and going, leaving the average listener at a loss at first - until it became a natural thing just by repeated listening. But is it "Prog" ? Well, I'm not out to cheat you, it's not. It's a pop-song once more with a fine melody, it's been constructed a bit more complex than others, maybe, and being performed very skillful. Somehow I was supposed to like it from the start, but I couldn't imagine it to be a single-hit. Imagination isn't always a thing to rely on... because it was. In the Netherlands, ladies and gentlemen, and I can only congratulate the record-buyers there, a good tune does not fail on them, no matter how complicated it was constructed. It's somehow funny that - for a time - Marillion could do anything they want but didn't get airplay with stuff like "Under the Sun", "Deserve", "Rich", "Between you and me", "Map of the World"... but after "Marbles" had them come back to a brighter recognition, "Thank you..." earned them another hit-single. Crazy world, but still - well deserved ! Or what did Neil Diamond say ? "When you're hot... you're hot".

Then comes "Most Toys"... and please don't stone me ( once more ), cause I enjoy it. It's fun. Like a child bashing out its triumphant cry over all the "more lucky ones"... bababababa... and the words are true, aren't they ? All of us... losers. The biggest loser: "He who dies with the most toys"... but prog ? God be sure, it's no prog, and if it's prog, then it's "punk-prog" ( lol ). All you Hogie-foes out there you may call it "HogAaaargh" but me I like it still, no matter how disgraced you may feel about it... remember, it's short, it's over soon, the dentist only needed to drill a few minutes, if but for his own pleasure !

What comes next are the best three pieces on the album one after the other. And, be sure, three of the best tracks this band had recorded yet. What a trip... psychedelic art-rock is what I'd like to call it. Not so easy to swallow, perhaps, but it's here where we can hear the band progress the most after "Marbles" and leaving us astounded again... painful it may be, especially "A Voice from the Past", as the very best of the album... and the more you listen to it, the more you get aware that "Somewhere else" is not a different place to look at, it's a kaleidoscope to look through... a kaleidoscope that can show you colors and compositions to leave you astounded again. Lord, that's what I love about this band... they do it again and again but never do they do it in the very same way... cause, for sure, "Somewhere else" doesn't possess the same level of energy that "Marillion.com" or "Anoraknophobia" used to have. It's on a lower level here ( well, we're all getting older and "Marlbes" hadn't been on a higher one, it only sounded better ), but no less astounding. "A tap with clean water" is opening to fill liquid into the kaleidoscope just when Hogie starts repeating those words and those liquid pieces start moving around before one's eyes during the subtle, confusing rhythm-scale of "No such thing". You wanna clutch at a straw of security ? Sorry, there's no such thing either, security is an illusion...

"The Wound" may slightly be a hand to grab, cause it's something you don't get very often on this album: It's "Marillion sounding like Marillion". Perhaps a bit too much for me... cause it doesn't belong to my favorites, though it's a very solid effort that doesn't exclude new colors from the kaleidoscope, there's just a bit too much familiar in the composition as a whole. Perhaps I knew "The Wound" before. It may have been too obviously Hogie's wound that the long-term fan and listener long since has gotten used to deal with. "The last century for Man" is more of my cup again... as is the beautiful melody of "Faith", a brilliant ending that somehow reminds me of "Annie's Song" ( get it ? John Denver's one ! ) without being a rip-off or drowning in schmaltz at all... I have read it was a lesser one several times - don't know why, it's perhaps the best song on the album after that tremendous trip of the title-track, "A Voice from the Past" and "No such thing" have made it the very good album that it became already. Prog ? Well, as a whole, "Somewhere else" is an album full of progression and good enough to grace it with a fourth star. It's a different four stars than the ones I gave to "Marbles", cause it is "Somewhere else". With "Marbles" you were able to travel a long way, even under sea, but this one is more a Kaleidoscope to watch through... and then, perhaps, you'll want more and go somewhere else with the guys. Hm. Sorry. I've just told you what was in the bag of surprises this time. But never mind, surprised you'll be still... my recommendation: take that kaleidoscope into your own hands and have a look for yourself !

Report this review (#610461)
Posted Sunday, January 15, 2012 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Somewhere Else is a divisive album amongst Marillion fans - much like Radiation, which exhibits a rather similar approach. Like Radiation, the album finds Marillion opting to concentrate on shorter, poppier numbers with a healthy dose of 60s influence (at points getting outright spacey or psychedelic), though on the whole I would say it's a slightly more successful album than its predecessor.

Part of this is down to a much better production job, which brings out the psychedelic influences on the songs much more clearly and genuinely makes the album more pleasant to listen to on the whole. Part of this is a more artful running order, which mixes more progressive songs in with the more straight-ahead pieces (I swear people would give Radiation an easier time if all the least progressive - and, I will admit, least good - songs weren't all crammed to the front of the running order). But I'd say a bigger part of it than all of these is that even though they are not going out of their way to be super-progressive at this point, neither are Marillion trying hard to be anything other than Marillion. There's no embarrassing chasing of indie-pop credential, as many fans (including myself) felt there was on Radiation.

On the whole, I wouldn't put Somewhere Else in the top rank of Marillion albums, and it's certainly not their proggiest effort, but I would say it's one of their more successful attempts at hippified mildly proggy pop (alongside Anoraknophobia and Marillion.com). In fact, I'd say that at this point there are two clear traditions in H-era Marillion which have kind of developed in parallel - lush crossover prog albums like Brave, Afraid of Sunlight and Marbles on the one hand, and poppier pieces like Holidays In Eden, Radiation and Somewhere Else on the other. Unfortunately, I'm not convinced that the pop-Marillion strand has ever bested Holidays In Eden.

Report this review (#720501)
Posted Tuesday, April 10, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Marillion's 2007 album Somewhere Else was the follow up to what is in my opinion (as of this writing) their best latter day album, Marbles.

The album starts off well with a driving opener in "The Other Half". This song also incorporates a piano sound near the end of the track that Marillion incorporates into this album again in later tracks.

"See It Like a Baby" follows this up by being a decent pop-rocker that's typical of the Hogarth-era Marillion. It's not too long, it's inoffensive. It's okay.

Then we get "Thank You Whoever You Are", which begins as soft piano piece which threatens to turn into a power ballad at any moment once the guitars kick in. Thankfully it doesn't and it's actually surprisingly not too bad.

"Most Toys" seems like the commercial stab for the album. It's a short and sweet rocker with straight forward lyrics. I actually like this song quite a bit, but I can understand other prog fans not being too keen on it. This track is more akin to Pearl Jam than prog.

On the other hand, the title track is pretty decent as far as prog content. "Somewhere Else" starts off, once again, with a low key piano part, but as the song progresses the guitars kick in with some Gilmour-esque soundscapes. This track is one of the album highlights for me.

"A Voice from the Past" gives us another pretty mellow piano track that slowly builds into a crescendo with a guitar solo. Again, it's a well written piece and Hogarth gives a great vocal performance as well.

I bring up the vocal work because the next track, "No Such Thing", has Hogarth singing with his vocals distorted. I think that this will be just for the start of the track, but no, it's for the whole thing, which seems a bit unnecessary to me. The track itself is a bit repetitive as well. Kind of a weak point.

"The Wound" is another highlight of the album. For one thing, it doesn't start with a melancholy piano bit. It's a great rock track which shows an energy that, frankly, is missing from a number of other tracks on the album, and makes full use of its 7:17 running time.

"The Last Century On Earth" by contrast is fairly dull to my ears. It's by no means terrible, but it spends far too much of its almost six minute running time in a mid-tempo loop that only takes off by a few feet instead of soaring like it wants to.

The album ends on a short piece called "Faith" that begins with acoustic guitar and Hogarth in singer-songwriter mode. It's different, I'll give it that. It's pretty far from what one would ask or expect from a Marillion album though. And you know what? I'm okay with that.

I believe the most prominent opinion amongst many prog listeners is that this album was a disappointment. I know I certainly remember being disappointed with this album when I first listened to it upon release. But was it perhaps misjudged by being compared to the impressive recording that came immediately before it?

Overall: Re-listening to the album with the hindsight of a couple of years, I find that Somewhere Else isn't really the near-disaster I had originally thought it to be. It's a pretty solid album with a couple of good tracks. It also has a few that don't quite work, but the majority of the album can be viewed as very safe territory for Marillion. Which was probably the true disappointment.

Highlights: "Somewhere Else", "The Wound"

Report this review (#774396)
Posted Tuesday, June 19, 2012 | Review Permalink
2 stars This my Marillion standards is a poor album. It's like they approached a 'wall' with songwriting and released an album full of nothingness. It is not all bad news folks, with the title track 'Somewhere else' reminding us why we spend all our money on their back catalogue, and a couple of others that just about make the grade. Overall, if you are like me and would buy a toilet seat if it had Marillion written on it then buy it for the shelf and the title track, but if you are new to Marillion, do not try this album first or you will be given a false impression of one fine band.
Report this review (#1135971)
Posted Sunday, February 23, 2014 | Review Permalink

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