on 27 April 2004
What can I say. I used to be a huge fan of Marillion around the time ofSeasons End, Holidays in Eden and Brave. All three albums I thought weregreat records. I never thought they could surpass the greatness of Brave. They never seemed to catch the mainstream and I really can't understandwhy, and it didn't seem fair. Yet the whole campaign of Marbles andYou're Gone has proved that it's about the fans not the record companiesand entering the top 10 with the single You're Gone. I received my deluxe2 CD copy yesterday - and been looking forward it for ages. I have beenlistening to it none stop, and each play it gets better and better. To methere are some stand out tracks Fantastic Place, Don't Hurt Your Self andthe truly brilliant Neverland. Yet on another listen another track willstand out more. This is the beauty of this album; it's an album you haveto listen to from start to finish to really appreciate how good it reallyis. It's very rare for a group to produce an album that can be listenedto from start to finish without skipping the odd track. The likes of NMEand Q will probably slag this album off because there not from New York ornot the next big thing, but this album is worthy of five stars and standsup there with the great records we have had in the last few years.
Isaid they would never surpass Brave..........well they have with Marbles - anamazing record.
on 21 April 2004
Starting with the epic and brooding Invisible Man this album gives no quarter. The band unlease the 12 minute epic using their trademark time changes on a track which has to be heard several times to get it. No one could accuse Marillion of 'selling out'! The rest of the album is a top notch mix of up beat emotional pop like the single You're Gone and Don't Hurt Yourself contrasting with the sublime Fantastic Place, surely the crown jewel in this sparkeling package. Other highlights (and we are talking 'stand out' in a sea of stand out tracks, includes Angelina and the closer, another 12 minutes epic, Neverland. Interspersed are the four Marbles tracks, very remenicent of Pink Floyd!
The only thing missing from this is the 18 minute cinematic master piece, Ocean Cloud. If you want this one you will have to buy the special 2 disk version from Marillion themselves!
This has to be the best CD from the boys since 1994's Brave, and I think that it will be remembered longer as this CD only gets better with each listen. If you buy into Marillion today, you will still be putting this one on in 5 years time!
I have followed Marillion for a long time but this is the most beautiful piece of work they have made. All the stuff through the Hogarth-era reaches maturity on Marbles. The Invisible Man is an amazing track but it does take a few listens to get it. You're Gone has some gorgeous Steve Rothery guitar e-bowing all over the place. Angelina is sublime. Don't Hurt Yourself is a wonderful upbeat track. Fantastic Place is an amazing emotional trip. Drilling Holes is really cool with some adrenalin guitar all over it and great echoey vocals. Neverland is a really powerful way to end the album. The 4 Marbles tracks are great little vignettes that show that Steve Hogarth was always a few sticks short of a bundle. He is a visionary genius with a fantastic voice and Marbles is Marillion's crowning achievement, although The Only Unforgivable Thing, Genie and Ocean Cloud make buying the 2CD version essential as these songs are simply glorious and cannot be missed out on.
on 15 January 2007
This is almost undoubtedly their best ever album, and that is saying something. The fact that they managed to defy all of the critics over the years to release album after album (this is their thirteenth studio album)of quality rock and superb musicianship testifies that there are a few of us who are prepared to stay with a band who ignore trends in order to develop and grow musically and to produce music which challenges and uplifts. I was one of the many fans who stumped up quite a lot of money to receive the special 2 CD version only available from their website and you really need to get this 2CD version to get the feel of the work. The incredible 'Ocean Cloud' is not on the single CD version (well at 18 minutes long, would it be?) and nor is the wonderful 'The Only Unforgiveable Thing' (does it sound a bit like Coldplay at the beginning?).
If you could classify their albums as 'more rocky' and 'less rocky', then this one would be one of their less rocky. There are many stand-out tracks, with superb, spine-tingling guitar work from Rothery which harks back many years to around 'Afraid Of Sunlight' (1995) and previously, notably the very lengthy 'Neverland', brilliantly produced by Dave Meegan, the subtley unlifting 'Fantastic Place', and the massive 'The Invisible Man'with its twists, turns and, in true Marillion fashion, changes in tempo. I think that my only minor reservation would be that, whilst their 'long' songs are not over-long, some of their shorter stuff is. 'You're Gone' and 'Don't Hurt Yourself' (both released in edited forms as hit singles!) do slightly outstay their welcome for me. However, if you want to discover one of the best-kept secrets in rock, you ought to try this. If you abandonned Marillion after Fish's departure, or soon after, this is a good place to catch up with them again.
on 30 May 2004
This review is not really unbiased. Being a fan since the mid eighties (when the band had a period of bad reviews and big succes), I can hardly call myself objective. But then again, who can? Reading reviews of some British so called popcritics I always wonder if they are listening to the same record as I have, when they give Marillion another 'non-relevant prog' label.
Marbles is Marillion's 13th album and it is one of their finest. It is atmospheric, has great melodies, beautiful radio friendly songs like Don't hurt yourself and Fantastic place, more difficult songs (at first) like The Invisible men, a jazzy late night tune called Angelina and includes the hit single You're Gone (not one of my favorites, though).
It took the band the better part of three years to write, record and mix this album and it was time well spend. I don't love every Marillion album, but this one is just great. And it amazes me that after all those years it is still possible for these musicans to reinvent themselves and make every new album a really different listening experience instead of repeating themselves.
Anyway, forget about Talk Talk (great band, though), Radiohead, Genesis or any prog band in the field. This is Marillion. And Marbles is one of the finest albums of 2004.
on 27 October 2004
Buy this album, and listen to it at least ten times before making a judgement. I resolved to get to know it very well before reviewing it, and after a few months of very frequent playing, I have finally concluded that Marillion have beaten their previous high points (which in my view were Brave and Clutching At Straws).
Lyrically it is a complex album as we have come to expect, but there is much more coherence here than of late, especially when listening to the 2-CD version (Genie, The Damage and the different track order really make things slot nicely into place, and you can't really understand what Fantastic Place is getting at without having heard Genie first). I'm still getting different nuances and emotions even now.
It's probably fair to say that Marillion's lyrics are generally pretty deep, but the music is often not accessible enough to make it easy to get into. Marbles is a marked change - even my wife who never liked any other Marillion album (and still doesn't) finds she rather enjoys Marbles. Musically it is a treat without being commercial and there are many stand-out tracks - for me, Fantastic Place, Neverland, Don't Hurt Yourself and The Invisible Man are classics.
Some reviewers have commented on the nursery-rhyme style of the four "Marbles" interludes. These are just another example of how the music adds to the meaning - style complementing content. It's done on purpose and if you get it, it's well worth getting. If not, well maybe this isn't your kind of music (it certainly is NOT your kind of music if you prefer just to hear something pleasant-sounding than really listen, feel and experience something deep and artistic).
Musically Steve Rothery has stepped up at least two gears since his last outing - and that's saying something. He shows such versatility and variation in his guitaring style on Marbles - I hear echoes of Knopfler, Harrison, Clapton, Frusciante on top of the vintage Rothery - and he does them all so well that it's as if Marillion has two lead singers, who duet sometimes to wonderful effect. All the band members are on top form but both Rothery and Hogarth would stand out in any band.
I do advise the 2CD version which I bought after having the 1CD version for a month or so (it is available at a discount if you bought the 1CD version, so you don't actually pay twice). It will help you to "get it" more, plus it features some excellent additional tracks. And having seen them perform (not just play - perform) live recently, I am very much looking forward to the live DVD "Marbles On The Road" as this was a breathtaking show.
Better than Brave? It's a tough call as they are different in many ways, but after long reflection I think Marbles wins by a short head. Make up your own mind and don't let any reviewer make it up for you (if more people had an open mind, Marillion would be a far more widely-respected band). The real question is, can they top this, and will they try? This would be a wonderful finale for a great career. But for now I am eagerly looking forward to the next opus.
Of course the connoisseurs choice is the 2 CD version available directly from the bands label, but this single CD version is enough to show that Marillion are alive and kicking in the 21st Century. This is a very modern and fresh sounding rock album. In fact it puts a lot of what is being termed nu-prog to shame. This is how it should be done.
The album begins with the lengthy "The Invisible Man". Full of electronic treatments and atmospherics, the track builds in a mantra type way. This is a bold statement by the band and what a way to open the album. "Don't Hurt Yourself" is wonderfully exuberant. The band sound so fresh and alive on this. A good second single. The single itself, "You're Gone" has some nice textured guitar (or synth?) and is really pretty good and deserved the chart position it obtained recently. The album ends as it began in epic style with "Neverland". This is a classic track with a nice build up and excellent guitar by Steve Rothery.
I really love this album. I am not a Marillion fan, in fact this is the first album of theirs that I am familiar with. But it's an excellent modern rock record from a band that sounds fresh, trying out different ideas, structures and textures within their music. Special mention must go to the production by Dave Meegan and some of the mixes are done by Porcupine Trees Steven Wilson. The mastering by the legendary Simon Heyworth is not to be overlooked either. The whole thing is finished off with an excellent sleeve design by Carl Glover. The 2 CD version comes in an astonishing hardback book format. One of my albums of the year I think.
on 27 April 2004
Marillion return after a two year abscence - and it was worth thewait.
Marbles is available in two forms: a double CD obtainable only from theofficial website and this, generally available single CD version. This mayseem divisive, but it's a shrewd move. Even the bands most dedicated fanswould admit that their music can be inaccesssible to the unconverted, butthey have have sidestepped the issue by providing novices with an easyintroduction to the band and their music. The single CD version isdefinitely the one to go for if you're not already a dedicated fan.
Despite the Marillion-made-easy approach to this version of the CD thefirst track, "The Invisible Man" is typical of the band and will leavemany newcomers bewildered. Those who persevere though will be treated tothe likes of recent hit single "You're Gone", the charmingly ingenuous"Fantastic Place" and the slow & easy "Angelina".The album is rounded outby the four parts of the title track, the almost psychedelic "DrillingHoles" and the convoluted "Neverland". The latter is another archetypalMarillion track, but perhaps more melodic and, hence, more readilylikeable than the album opener.
For me though, the highlight must be the wonderful "Don't Hurt Yourself".It's as pure a piece of summer pop as you could wish for and, followingthe success of "You're Gone", should garner the attention that itdeserves.
on 4 May 2004
I have the preorder version of this album with 2 CD's.
The album is a fantastic piece of work and is quite honestly the best album I've ever had the luck to listen to. I'm quite a recent convert to the Marillion way of life and I feel that their music is beautiful, honest and raw.
The music itself is a high standard and it's quite clear that a lot of effort has gone into producing the best album that Marillion have ever released. The band is incredibly underrated.
The single You're Gone grows on you - admittedly it's not my favourite track on the album but it's beautiful song. Fantastic Place is, well, fantastic ! The track is quite long, but is rich, melodic and powerful and is a definite contender to my favourite track on the album.
Put simply, this is a fantastic album - it's well worth a listen. The album grows slowly on you, but once it catches you, you'll be blown away.
on 20 January 2005
Marillion's latest offering has to be one of the best albums I have ever listened to. From the very first track, 'The Invisible Man' which slowly builds up the pace, finishing in a fashion which makes you want to play it again and again, to the final, delicate 'Neverland,' this is an album which, with any luck, you won't want to take from the CD player.
In terms of sound, the album is much more of a progressive rock piece than others by the band (for instance the excellent but much more commercial 'Anoraknophobia'), with its running Marbles theme popping up from time to time to amuse you. 'Marbles III,' apart from having a very catchy tune also has quite funny lyrics. The only problem with this album is that it lacks several excellent tracks found on the 2 CD edition - Ocean Cloud, for one, an epic piece akin to something from Genesis' 'Wind and Wuthering' and 'The Damage,' a very bizarre track where Steve Hogarth's voice seems more strained and unusual then normal.
If you've not heard Marillion before, this would be a good buy, it's an easy to get into album and an excellent introduction to their music. If you've listened to Marillion before (and liked them), go for the two CD edition.