Marillion – “Sounds That Can’t Be Made”

Marillion – “Sounds That Can’t Be Made” (earMUSIC)

Wow, I remember these guys way back in the 80s when they appeared as a new band in Kerrang! – complete with a vocalist strangely titled ‘Fish’ lol! Still, one couldn’t help but marvel at their debut “Script for a Jester’s Tear” which took the band to the forefront of the British neo prog movement. Since then there’s been the usual band changes but the most significant had to be the departure of Fish in the late 80s and the arrival of his replacement Steve Hogarth such that fans very often cite this as reflective of the two eras in the band’s history. Judging by this album, the Marillion of today is very different to that which I heard back then such that it’s barely a prog band – although there are still elements in there – but more of a modern soft rock band. Songs like ‘Montreal’, despite clocking in at a heavyweight 14 mins or even ‘Power’ are anything but that, being more ethereal, carried off in atmospheric splendor by Hogarth’s excellent high end vocals, at times reminiscent of Phil Collins – albeit only in a breath – as well as the truly breathtaking keyboards of founder member Mark Kelly – not to mention the rest of the band, who also put in superior musical performances. As I said, it’s all pretty light stuff so I guess the band must channel their energy in a more cerebral direction these days if ‘Gaza’ is anything to go by. The longest song on the album, which I guess is reflective of this Middle East conflict in general, was a bit of a surprise to me coming from a band like Marillion given its heavy subject matter never ceases to inspire conflict – verbal or otherwise! Yet despite the cliched Arabian melodies, Marillion bring a calming, reflective musical perspective to it all, thankfully in an unpatronizing way to both sides. I did wonder while listening to the album if at first the band should have considered either a name change or doing this sorta music as a side project, but upon reflection, they seem to be doing what they originally started, but only in a more real world dimension so well done lads.

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