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Marillion - Somewhere Else CD (album) cover





3.04 | 538 ratings

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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!

lazland | 3/5 |


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