Marillion...Recommendations Wanted

Discussion in 'Music' started by Paul E. Fox II, Apr 24, 2003.

  1. Paul E. Fox II

    Paul E. Fox II Second Unit

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    Ok...thanks largely in part to the people in this forum, I've fallen in love with Dream Theater and really dig Spock's Beard. Now I'm ready for more.

    You guys had mentioned a band called Marillion I believe. I was able to find one called Misplaced Childhood over at Amazon but is that the one with which to begin?

    Let me know where I should start.
     
  2. Jan H

    Jan H Cinematographer

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    Try "Clutching at Straws", an excellent concept album dealing with Fish's struggle with booze. Probably my favorite Marillion album.
     
  3. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

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    I think Misplaced Childhood is Marillion's best album, and I personally think the Fish years were their best (though some disagree).

    After MC, I would recommend Script for a Jester's Tear and Fugazi.

    By the way, if you like DT, I would strongly recommend checking out Transatlantic's SMPTe which is a side project featuring Mike Portnoy (drums) of DT and Pete Trewavas (bass) from Marillion. Awesome stuff.
     
  4. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    There are two eras. The first was with the lead singer called Fish. This is as progressive as they get. My favorite of this era is "Misplaced Childhood".

    The second era was when Steve Hogarth took over for Fish after he left. They have their progressive moments ("Brave") but is probably less progressive than the first era. My favorite album of this era is "This Strange Engine".

    Also, check out Fish's solo career. "Sunsets On Empire" is a great album.

    Jason
     
  5. James Lee

    James Lee Stunt Coordinator

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    As has been suggested, Misplaced Childhood and Clutching at Straws are definte must-haves. In the post-Fish Marillion years, my favorite is Brave. It's simply brilliant with a good mix of progressive tunes, slow moody instrumentals and all out rocking songs. I would also recommend Season's End (first album with Steve Hogarth). It's not great, but it does have some really good songs, like Easter and The Space. Holidays in Eden (second album with Hogarth) is pretty disposable. After they released Brave, they changed their sound quite a bit and I lost interest.

    If Marillion is your cup of tea, check out another English prog band named IQ. I like them a lot more than Marillion.
     
  6. andrew markworthy

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    There are two Marillion eras, as has been said - the 'Fish era' was the first, when the lead singer had the improbable name of 'Fish' (from his habit of taking long baths - he was Christened Derek Dick). The second era was after Fish left to be replaced by a lead singer called Steve Hogarth.

    Fish-era Marillion began sounding like Gabriel period Genesis (only rather more dynamic). The albums in chronological order:

    Script for a Jester's Tear [first studio album]
    Fugazi [second studio album]
    Real to Reel [live album]
    Brief Encounter [live mini-album intended for North America only; eventually released on CD as a double package with Real to Reel]
    Misplaced Childhood [third studio album]
    B Sides Themselves [a collection of the B sides of their singles up to this point]
    Clutching at Straws [fourth and final studio album]
    The Thieving Magpie [live album that is effectively a 'greatest hits live' package]

    The thing about Fish-era Marillion is that if you like one thing they did, the chances are you'll like everything they did. If you're being choosy, the live albums are perhaps the most disposable, and of the studio albums, Script for a Jester's Tear is probably the weakest. However, don't overlook 'B Sides Themselves' which includes a magnificent 20-minute song called 'Grendel' that is pure early Genesis and is a lot of fans' favourite track. If you're going to start with one or two albums, pick Misplaced Childhood (which has their biggest singles hit - Kayleigh) and then Clutching at Straws (which is just as good).

    I don't know how easily available Marillion CDs are in the USA, but try to get the remasters. This isn't just for sound quality, but also because they came with bonus CDs that collected together B sides of the singles, demo tracks, etc. Plus, there are lengthy sleeve notes.

    If you get really keen, then there was (is?) a boxed set of all the Fish-era 12 inch singles on CD in replicas of the original sleeves.

    The Hogarth era Marillion is a rather different beast. It sounds less 'prog rock' and more AOR to my ears. It's not bad by any means, but it doesn't personally do anything for me.
     
  7. Mark All

    Mark All Second Unit

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    To me, the band Marillion ended when Fish "departed." I like everything they did up through and including Clutching at Straws, although the epic Grendel, and the albums Script for a Jester's Tear and Clutching at Straws are the best work Fish-era Marillion did in my opinion. The double disc remasters are worth the money.

    Steve Hogarth's Marillion is a lot different. Some of their songs are conceptual, the great musicianship is still there, and the overall quality of their songs became increasingly excellent over time. However, some tunes, particularly from the first two albums are pure pop crap designed for MTV. Fish was hardly photogenic; so the labels may have gone overboard with Hogarth's different appearance. Having said that, the album Afraid of Sunlight stands as my favorite Marillion album even taking the Fish-era Marillion into consideration. I think the Hogarth era really hit its stride with that one.
     
  8. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

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    I purchased the double-disc remaster of Misplaced Childhood and I guess I'm in the minority here, but I thought the bass was boosted and too overpowering. I'll have to do a comparison with my original version.
     
  9. Peter Mazur

    Peter Mazur Second Unit

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    I think some comments here are really a disservice to Marillion's later music. "Afraid of Sunlight" is IMO second only to "Clutching at Straws". It is an incredible album and to me defines the Marillion sound. Hogarth is such a passionate singer, one listen to the song "Out of this World" will prove this. Or "100 Nights" from Holidays in Eden.

    I would rank their albums in the following order:

    Clutching at Straws
    Afraid of Sunlight
    Fugazi
    Season's End
    Script for a Jester's Tear
    Marillion.com
    Anoraknophobia
    Holiday's in Eden
    Brave
    This Strange Engine
    Misplaced Childhood (This has never been one of my favorites)
    Radiation

    James Lee,

    Another IQ fan, awesome. I have long been singing their praises here.
     
  10. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Paul,

    I would consider Marillion my second favorite non-metal "normal" rock band (after Rush). I am an absolute hardcore Marillion fanatic, so I can talk about 'em all day.

    Others have discussed the Fish stuff and the fact that there are two eras. Fish was the singer from its commercial beginnings in the early 80s to 1988 and released 4 studio albums. Steve Hogarth has been at the mike since then and with him the band released 8 albums. This means that Steve H has been Marillion's front man twice as long as Fish.

    The most important thing to keep in mind when checking out Marillion's recent music (post '95) is that if you're specifically interested in "prog" or art rock, then this isn't for you. They just don't do that anymore. The musicianship is stronger than ever and the song writing is at its peak, but they left the prog trappings a long time ago.

    The music they make now is very contemporary pop/rock, intelligently written. Yes, it can be catchy, much to the dismay of old-schoolers. They have also incorporated some of the musical ideas of trance, Brit-pop, and Radiohead.

    As for which album to start with, I always recommend the most recent album of a band I like. In Marillion's case, Anoraknophobia is, IMO, their best album ever. Yes, that includes Misplaced Childhood (my favorite Fish album) and Brave (the most "prog" like of the Steve H albums).

    Anoraknophobia is simply brilliant. Every song on it sounds great, is performed beautifully, and are both instantly accessible and layered enough to reveal new things on each listen.

    Since 1995's Afraid of Sunlight, the band has been working on re-tooling their sound. While all the albums since have been great, Anoraknophobia finds Marillion enjoying the results of their experiments. Here, it all comes together.

    So, yeah, start with that one.

    My list of must-have Marillion albums:

    Script for A Jester's Tear
    Misplaced Childhood
    Clutching At Straws
    Season's End
    Brave
    Afraid of Sunlight
    Marillion.com
    Anoroknophobia

    A double live album taken from their last tour, Anorak in the UK, is also a great place to start. All of the songs from Anoraknophobia but one are on it, and it lets you hear them live, always their best setting.
     
  11. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    The problem with lists is that, in my experience, what people like and don't like vary highly. Probably because Marillion has changed so much over the years.

    For example, most fans of H think "Afraid Of Sunlight" is a great album. I don't. It bores me to death. Just note that your milage may vary.

    I'm glad that Mike likes Anoraknophobia, since I think it is the second best H album (to TSE). Great stuff.

    Jason
     
  12. Peter Mazur

    Peter Mazur Second Unit

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    Jason,

    "Bores you to death", Wow...you ain't kidding about differences of opinion.
     
  13. James Lee

    James Lee Stunt Coordinator

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    It sounds like Paul simply needs to buy the entire Marillion library. [​IMG]

    Barring that though, if I were to pick one each from the Fish era and one from the Hogarth era, I would choose Clutching at Straws and Brave. I'm sure everyone would pick two completely different choices. Ah heck, just get all the Marillion CDs.

    Peter, IQ is my FAVORITE band. I still listen to Subterranea every couple days. I saw them in the U.S. when they toured for Ever and I have been a fan ever since. I just hope they come back sometime during my lifetime.
     
  14. Peter Mazur

    Peter Mazur Second Unit

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    James,

    We must have been at the same IQ show. The one in San Jose at the Cabaret?

    I wish I could get on a mountain top and shout out "All prog fans please buy The Wake, Ever and Subterranea. You won't be disapointed." [​IMG]
     
  15. James Lee

    James Lee Stunt Coordinator

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    Peter, yes I was at the same show! It was one of the best shows I've ever seen, despite the fact that the Cabaret is a bit of a dump.
     
  16. Peter Mazur

    Peter Mazur Second Unit

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    The best show I ever saw there was Marillion in 1990. IQ were awesome as well though. My only drawback was at the time I didn't know IQ's music very well. I was only familiar with "Ever" and "Are you sitting comfortably". I do remember them playing "Widow's Peak" and thinking I have got to get the album that that song is on. I e-mailed Martin Orford and asked if they would come back to play. He said they really wanted to but have no plans in the foreseeable future. "Fierce immigration service" were his words. I was really hoping to get the Subterranea DVD, but it is not our region unfortunately. The last I heard we should expect a new album I think in early '04.
     
  17. Paul E. Fox II

    Paul E. Fox II Second Unit

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    Thanks all for the replies. Now, let's narrow the playing field a little. Armed with the knowledget that there are two Marillion's (Fish and Hogarth), here's my next question.

    Give me the ONE album with each singer that will best exemplify what Marillion was then and is now. How's that for a test!

    HEHEHEHEHE...I love asking you guys questions. You may as well start figuring out the same questions for my next group...The Flower Kings[​IMG]!
     
  18. Mark All

    Mark All Second Unit

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    "Clutching at Straws" and "Afraid of Sunlight".

    The Flower Kings, eh? With the exception of "The Rainmaker", get them all. Also, don't forget Roine Stolt's solo "The Flower King", the one that started things off. I'd actually start with that one.

    I tend to think of the Flower Kings more in terms of Yes and Peter Gabriel era Genesis than Marillion though. Like Yes, the meaning of the lyrics is often not important and the meaning is often incomprehensible. Also, the singing can be a little off-putting until one gets used to the Swedish accents. The Flower Kings have some great live recordings which constantly makes me wonder how the band can stay so together throughout such incredibly complex music. They are a very productive band, with many of their releases filling up two CDs.
     
  19. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    Blimey this takes me back a few years. I was a big Marillion fan in the Fish days, though unfortunately never saw them play live. Their name, incidentally, is derived from Tolkien's pre-history book for The Lord Of The Rings - The Silmarillion (though the band's name is pretty meaningless on it's own).

    My favourite album of theirs was always Script For A Jester's Tear, which while hopelessly pretentious (wasn't all prog-rock?) did have some cracking good songs on there, especially the closing number 'Forgotten Sons'.

    Fugazi was also good and was somewhat deeper in lyrical content (and darker in tone). However the much-lauded Misplaced Childhood was an album I never really took to. If their earlier material was pretentious then this album was uber-pretentious with an overly-long (the running time was nothing exceptional but it just seemed long), meandering 'concept' that bored me to sleep by the middle of side 2 (yes, back in the days of vinyl!). Any album that sings "Lavender blue dilly dilly Lavender green" and takes it all so seriously is a bit dodgy, in my book [​IMG]

    Clutching At Straws - very good indeed. Some really excellent songs on here, especially Slainte Mhath (never did know hot to pronounce that) and Torch Song.

    After Fish left and Hogarth came in, I lost interest. I got the first post-Fish album and while I liked it, it just wasn't Marillion. I did see them live however and they were fine.

    I've also still got Fish's first two solo albums - Vigil In A Wilderness Of Mirrors and Internal Exile. Vigil (with possibly the most daft title ever) sounded quite dated for it's time, but had some great songs and was a real pleasure to listen to. The two on that album which stick in my mind were The Company and Family Business, the latter dealing with the subject of child abuse. I remember seeing Fish play live when this album came out and it was - in all honesty - one of the best gigs I've ever seen. Wonderful stuff.
     
  20. Rob M.

    Rob M. Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm with the other Rob...Misplaced Childhood is my least favorite of the Fish "era." While it has some good songs, I've never understood why it is still looked on so highly. Go with Jester's Tear or Clutching at Straws (which is where my sig comes from).

    For the Hogarth stuff, Brave is not just my favorite, it's in my top five or ten albums of all time. I just love it. The pipe intro to the title track gives me chills every time.
     

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