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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Melodic Quality
Marillion have delivered a radical reworking of some of their much-loved tracks whilst forging a unique acoustic sound based on using a wide variety of instruments. By subtly shifting time signatures, key changes, and even digging up the entire verse/chorus structure of some of their songs, they have allowed the melodic quality of their work to shine through...
Published on 5 Oct. 2009 by David K. Smith

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't mend what isn't broken
I've really tried to love this album and it's taken a while to put my finger on what my problem is with it. The fact is that I prefer the original versions of the tracks. So as much as I listen to this I would rather be listening to the original versions. Hogarth's vocals don't seem as good on these versions to their original studio counterparts and there's just not as...
Published on 9 Dec. 2009 by cosmetic punk


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Melodic Quality, 5 Oct. 2009
By 
David K. Smith (York, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Less Is More (Audio CD)
Marillion have delivered a radical reworking of some of their much-loved tracks whilst forging a unique acoustic sound based on using a wide variety of instruments. By subtly shifting time signatures, key changes, and even digging up the entire verse/chorus structure of some of their songs, they have allowed the melodic quality of their work to shine through.

From the transformed ticking, whirring organic entity which is the new version of 'Quartz' to 'Interior Lulu', which has been rearranged into an acoustic prog-rock epic, this album delivers a very interesting listening experience. 'Hard as Love' is transformed into perhaps the best unreleased single of the Hogarth-era, whilst the all-new 'If My Heart were a Ball' has a lounge-like jazzy, cool veneer. There is also a defining version of 'This is the Twenty First Century', and a delicate, haunting 'Out of This World', as well as an all-new, emotional and insistent piano and vocal track ('It's Not Your Fault').

Overall, this is one for fans to enjoy, shining new light onto old classics. Hopefully new fans will also pick it up and be surprised by the raw musicality and melodic strength of a band sometimes wrongly perceived as 'difficult'.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wide Awake On The Edge of My Seat, 2 Oct. 2009
By 
J. F. Marshall "baldyslaphead" (Somewhere Else, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Less Is More (Audio CD)
Generally, acoustic albums are just space-fillers. They're just a way of putting something out that's quick and simple that earns you a few groats for not much work in between proper album releases.

What you don't do - again, I'm writing generally - is revisit some old classics and strip them back to basics and re-arrange them for different key signatures or instrumentation, and you definitely don't write new bits. That suggests you care. People might get the impression that this stuff matters and that you've put a bit of thought into it. God knows what it might suggest if you were to learn entirely new instruments solely for such a marking time, cynical cash-in as an acoustic set.

What Marillion have produced is an album that takes the time to shine light into the corners of the songs we may not have investigated before. By using a different palate to create their artworks, they've given the songs character traits that we may not have considered previously.

The jazzy takes on If My Heart Were A Ball and Quartz (both from 2001's Anoraknophobia) strip away the rock of the originals and emphasises the harmonic twists and turns of the songs instead, revealing them as much quirkier beasts than they once were.

Interior Lulu, shorn of the 'quacking duck' solo, emerges much stronger and better for the sensitive new arrangement. Memory of Water, once a bit of a dirge, is less stodge and more airy in its new, folkier arrangement.

Some of the songs are less successful than others. Go! doesn't add much to the original beyond being played on acoustic instruments. It's still a great song, the end section is sublime, and it's beautifully played, but it isn't really showing anything that we didn't already know.

My only real criticism is not about the songs individually, but about the album as a whole; I feel that there could have been a little more variation in tempo. It is by no means enough to diminish the achievement. All in all, it's a lovely collection and the band's hard work shines through.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't mend what isn't broken, 9 Dec. 2009
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This review is from: Less Is More (Audio CD)
I've really tried to love this album and it's taken a while to put my finger on what my problem is with it. The fact is that I prefer the original versions of the tracks. So as much as I listen to this I would rather be listening to the original versions. Hogarth's vocals don't seem as good on these versions to their original studio counterparts and there's just not as much going on musically (Marillion albums often keep giving as you hear something new and hidden that you'd missed before). It's not a bad album but I like my Marillion to be Marillion and this comes across like a cover version. Which is probably what the band intended by rearranging the tunes ? So mission accomplished but give me the originals.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 50 odd minutes of genius, 22 Oct. 2009
By 
N. A. Davies (Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Less Is More (Audio CD)
I had to put the general time of the CD in the title as you will not notice the length when you sit and listen to this - it flies by. From the time you've er...gone, from Go it only seems a few seconds until the 'not so' hidden track comes shimmying from the speakers. The album really is a joy.

Probably best appreciated by hardened fans, the band have reworked some of the obvious and not so obvious selections of the Hogarth era albums.

Go, bristles with emotion, with the final refrain of 'wide awake at the end of the world' pulling at every heartstring. A lot of bands would have chosen 'easy' tracks to attempt acoustically but not this lot, oh no, we have Interior Lulu a prog rock epic from the .com album stripped back to bells, chimes, acoustic guitars, all very weird yet all very wonderful. Hard as Love so bombastic from Brave is now a slow ballad, with the vocal assualt in the finale now a group lullaby. Most of the songs are so reworked its hard to tell the song unless looking at the cover or waiting for Mr H to start singing. And how he sings on this CD. With the band stripped back, his voice is even more to the fore, every break, crack, draw a breath is exposed and it really is fantastic to hear.

The only things that annoys me about this album is that it wont reach a massive audience, but then again, if they were huge the magic may not be as good? Keep it quiet people, shhh, but this album is very very good.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome, 2 Oct. 2009
By 
P. Johnson (Ross on Wye) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Less Is More (Audio CD)
Sometimes you can get lost in the "traditional" Marillion soundscapes and lose sight of the fact that they write fantastic songs as your senses are assaulted (in a nice way) with layer upon layer of musical genius. Stripped back and stripped bare and with a fantastic production this is an awesome album. "Go" is sublime and the "tricky" Marillion classics are made easy. Superb album.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Less is more - more or less!, 17 Nov. 2009
By 
Lyecon (Swindon, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Less Is More (Audio CD)
This is a very mellow album, putting an acoustic slant to already released material bar one track. It's the kind of album you would want to curl up and listen to on a cold night, the stand out tracks being Go!, Interior Lulu ,The Space and Hard as Love. There is nothing radically new, and the album would probably not win new fans, but for the afficionados of H and the band it's a must have compilation, and won't disappoint. Not the best from Marillion, but very likeable all the same.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More and More please, 2 Oct. 2009
By 
P. Spence (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Less Is More (Audio CD)
As a Marillion fan of many years both with Fish and H, the thought of a rework of some of the H era songs at first didn't provide me with too much excitement, similar acoustic session had been done before. I bought this via pre-order anyway from the Marillion website and got a free download. Happiness is the Road was brilliant, Marillion back to their best.....this album Less is More is awesome. Don't be fooled that as this is an acoustic album it does not pack a punch. All the songs are not just acoustified (is that a word, it should be), they are reworked and they are reworked is such a way that they just blow you away. You can totally understand that these guys are musicians of top quality, all 5 of them, oh and it hasn't been overproduced like some albums that appear on the shelves lately.
If you have never listened to Marillion, now is the time.....more please
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just strumming along, 6 Oct. 2009
By 
Joepert (Netherlands) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Less Is More (Audio CD)
This is a special project by Marillion, who've been around for quite a long time now. Steve Hogarth, the singer, has the leading role here. His powerful, yet graceful voice lingers through the sparse arrangements the band has made of songs from their back-catalogue. It is, in al it's modesty, very entertaining. Steve Hogarth is the star of the record, but the whole band seem to thoroughly enjoy playing these arrangements. Recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A different vision of the traditional acoustic versions. Very good, 15 Nov. 2009
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G. Ramirez (Madrid, Spain) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Less Is More (Audio CD)
A different vision of the traditional acoustic versions, very interesting and original. Maybe too slow for the heaviest fans, but the extraordinary mix of sounds makes it a great album. Definitely very good.

If you have the chance to see the live show don't miss it, in one word: Amazing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Beautiful Music, 16 Dec. 2009
By 
Simon Brenchley (Basingstoke, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Less Is More (Audio CD)
I've had this CD for about 2 months now, and I know it's a cliche, but I really cannot stop playing it. The musicality and quality of production are as good as I've heard. I'm a big Marillion fan (got all their LPs and CDs) and am not fussy about which era. These tracks really show off the talent and musicianship of the band; it has a raw and natural sound to it, but the whole album simply gels. The only enhancement is a good quality system, bottle of wine, turn the lights off and play loud! Musin really doesn't get much better IMHO, and if you've not come across Marillion before, you shouldn't be put off buying this. Stunningly Beautiful Music....
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Less Is More
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