Here is a rock band that has been kicking around since the early 1980’s while building a rather large loyal fan base. Traditionally, a prog-band along the lines of early Genesis, complete with onstage theatrics and a charismatic vocalist named “Fish” (Derek William Dick),Marillionfollow up last year’s Radiation with Marillion.com.
Vocalist Steve Hogarth replaced “Fish” in 1989 as we might add that Fish’ Raingod with Zippos reviewed here on AAJ should be counted among the finest prog-records of 1999, yet Hogarth is fully adept at holding his own while possessing a fairly expansive or wide-reaching vocal range. The message conveyed on Marillion.com may be that of a band in transition. These gents know how to rev it up in songs such as “A Legacy” featuring rock hard sturdy backbeats, crunch style guitar licks and some thoughtful keyboard arrangements by Mark Kelley. “Deserve” is a throwaway rocker with a mildly memorable hook. “Go” once again, features strong keyboard/synth orchestrations from Kelley in support of Hogarth’s tender, warm vocalizing along with some good old electric – tremolo - guitar work by Steve Rothery. All in all, a pleasant and most appealing arrangement as Hogarth’s sweet-toned and emphatic vocals on “Enlightened” tops off a somewhat dreamscape-laden arrangement. “Tumble Down” is straight-ahead no nonsense rock and features some nifty and effective guitar strumming by Rothery. The vibe here leans a bit towards Don Henley-West Coast style – inoffensive, radio friendly rock. “Interior Lulu” is perhaps the finest piece on the entire recording as the men do what they know best via moody, textural synths capped off by an abrupt sequence that lashes out at you by surprise. Here, the band articulate “classic” Brit-style prog-rock enhanced by Kelley’s sonorous and fleet-fingered lead synth soloing. On this piece, “Marillion” rekindle fond memories of the great English progressive band, “Camel”.
Marillion may be going through an identity crisis or some sort of transformation as they hop along through various modes or frameworks whether touching upon prog-rock, alternative, radio friendly or a few nods here and there to grunge. In the meantime, it sounds like they’re having fun re-inventing themselves as there are quite a few bright spots on this album despite a few “minor” rough edges along the way. * * *
Steve Hogarth: Vocals: Steve Rothery; Guitars: Mark Kelly; Keyboards: Pete Tremavas; Bass: Ian Mosley; Drums & Percussion.