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4.4 out of 5 stars
Anoraknophobia
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on 11 January 2013
Regarded as one of the bands standout albums, to me this album exemplifies what this band is about, simply stated do not have any preconcieved notions about this band. The album starts off with an up-beat song in Between you and Me, great lyrically as always and just catchy from start to finish. The album is as varied as anyting they have done with for me the highlights being Quartz (H's vocals are absolutely Perfect for the song) and This is the 21st century, once again lyrically spot on, it might drag for the drummers in the crowd, as for much of the song it has a programmed beat, but when the real drums kick it it is one of the most powerful moments on the album. Catchy moments from a couple of songs that are quite different from the majority of the Marillion catalog or Map of the World and Seperated out. The album closes with an odd number called If my heart were a ball, it would roll up hill to close out an album that is just fantastic. My only complaint here would be that the madfish version didn't include the bonus tracks that were on the campaign edition, I know those songs are supposed to be exclusive to that release and a "Gift" to those who helped out, but being someone that actually still believes in playing CDs and carrying CD's in my car, I really would rather not carry the campaign edition in my car given that it sells for in excess of $100.00 on ebay to replace, so I just wish this digibook madfish version came with those bonus tracks.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 24 May 2001
Having read many reviews of this album saying it was drastically different to any other Marillion album, I was pleased that it actually isn't. The band was doing just nicely until "strange engine" which basicaly was rubbish. Radiation was better, marillion.com was better still and this is even better. If you like the groove of "interior lulu" from .com , you should like this classic album. I have heard it 6 times now and "Separated out" is still my favourite track as it was on first listen, Quartz a close second. I have 2 criticisms - the slow tracks are too long, and the lyrics could be better in the moments they realy cut through.- since I can't give it 4 and a half stars and I gave marillion.com 4, this must have 5. Buy it, play it to your friends who still think of Marillion as the band who did Kayliegh, and let's educate some more people!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 27 August 2001
ANORAKNOPHOBIA is a fantastic achievement. The band has come up with a perfect balance, mixing contemporary and commercial with the creative integrity that we have come to expect from Marillion. Hogarth's vocals are as near perfect as ever. Trewavas, fresh from the success of his Transatlantic project, has clearly brought extra dimensions to his part. The bass lines in QUARTZ are incredibly funky and really make the track. MAP OF THE WORLD is a great no-nonsense rock tune, which the band intends to release as a single. WHEN I MEET GOD is a beautiful song that explores those overwhelming feelings of emotional fatigue we experience when we look around at the world and want to know why bad stuff happens? Hogarth's voice pleads with a Blake-like innocence for answers to his questions, leaving the listener wanting to give him a hug and tell him it will be okay in the morning. In fact, the nightmare angle is explored pretty intricately in the last track when H asks "Did you ever dream of running - and find you couldn't move?" - who hasn't? After I heard this album I did wonder just how much therapy its creators require, I hope that this album has helped relieve the members of Marillion of some of life's anxieties that they so passionately illustrate. I would advise anyone bored with the mundane celebrity and mediocrity of the charts to buy this album and experience a band that are relevant, talented and are still out there and able to make a brilliant record that can appeal to all!
Forget the critics and what is 'popular' Decide with your ears
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on 18 November 2012
I have wasted years by not having this in my collection. I don't know why but I stopped listening to Marillion after Brave even though I loved it and all the Marillion stuff to then. I bought this along with all the other stuff Marillion has produced, and I didn't have within the last month. I've got to say I'm gutted I wasted so many listening years although the benefits of hearing half a dozen new to me albums has been emotional. If you have a Marilion gap...don't think about it, don't dwell, fill it. This album is so good. I can't stop listening to it.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 14 July 2002
I know it's been out for a while, but I've only just got round to buying it. I'm sitting listening through this album for the third or fourth time and felt compelled to write a review of it. My first impressions are that its quite enjoyable, but I've always had kind of mixed feelings about Marillion. I like them, a lot at times, and yet sometimes you can't help feeling they fall flat on their faces (ahem, Radiation). I felt particularly motivated to write something this time due to the band's rumblings surrounding this album, about them "not being prog", and should we dare to call them so we clearly haven't listened to it.
Well, whilst it may not entirely be prog in the 70s symphonic Yes/G*n*s*s sense, there is much proggyness going on here; long songs, tempo and melody changes, albeit given I suppose what you'd call a "contemporary" (i.e. retro) veneer. There are a couple of standout tracks for me; "Fruit of the Wild Rose", which has a gorgeous soaring break towards the middle, before entering into a quiet acoustic part. If this isn't prog, I'll eat my copy of Script with lashings of Grendel! The other is "This is the 21st Century", which although posing as a Massive Attack-influenced effort, is unmistakeably Marillion - the melody just couldn't have come from anyone else.
In fact it's the strong and original melodies throughout this album that let you know this is a Marillion album. If they could just lose the trendy, yet frankly rather clichéd production (which has effectively neutered Ian Mosely and Mark Kelly) I might have rated this album a bit higher, although they'd also have to lose "Map of the World", a yucky Corrs/La's soft rock number, and "If My Heart Were a Ball..." which sounds like a series of pasted together studio outtakes.
That really leads me onto my other problem. To my ears, every effort has been made to make this album "cool", and by that I don't necessarily mean commercial, otherwise I'm sure the song lengths would have been trimmed. I mean that a clear effort has been made to make it, well, fashionable. When you think about it, this doesn't sit entirely comfortably with the album's theme; that it's ok to be uncool, that if you're labelled as an anorak just because you're passionate about something, then so be it. And yet the band are attempting to run a mile from their progressive roots (Barry, the album's cutesy little Kenny from South Park lookalike motif, apparently dislikes neo-prog rock. I wonder if he'd point and laugh at me if I said I'm a fan of IQ? But then hold on, he also dislikes preconceptions. Hmmm).
Whatever. In any case the final irony may just be that this album is quite...erm, proggy.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 11 May 2001
This album is excellent. Each track has it's own individual identity. This is Marillion - but not as we know it. As with every Marillion album it takes a while to grow on you, but when it does you won't want to listen to anything else for a while. This isn't Fish, and nor should it be. This is the 21st Centuryn and Marillion with this album prove themselves to be a 21st century band. Hightlight songs are When I Meet God, This is the 21st Century, Between you and Me and Fruit of the Wild Rose. Buy this album, listen to it three of four times, and be very impressed.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 5 May 2001
A frankly stunning CD from Marillion. If this release was from a recognised major band - then the reviewers would be falling over themselves in their attempts to praise it. However as it's a new CD from Marillion then I suppose we are all going to have to listen to old rubbish about prog rock and fish. Dont take ANY notice! Marillion havent been prog for some while now. What you have here is a fabulous rock band making music that is relevant, moving, current and rocks really hard in places.
In other places it gets downright dirty and funky with grooves that Massive Attack would have been proud of. Quartz is that track that really should confound their critics while "When I meet God" is a haunting song with a melody to bring tears to your eyes. "This is the 21st Century" is the kind of song you buy albums for - great lyrics - wonderful singing - grooves that make you feel and guitar playing to mke you weep.
In short - this is a stunning and wonderful album. Some tracks rock harder than a very hard rock with a label marked "hard rock" on it - others groove - others make you want to sing with joy. Get it! It deserves to be number one over the world.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 25 June 2001
Well, Marillion have done it again. Produce an album which is more contemporary than they are given credit for, whilst betraying their 'traditional' prog roots - because, I suspect, they can't help it. They are proggers - even if they are modern proggers who should be mentioned alongside the current 'pioneers' such as Radiohead and certainly Porcupine Tree. Hardly surprising, then, that, when left to themselves following the fan-funded production of the album, they produce an album full of long songs, even when they are being their most contemporary yet.
The result is an album which may well end up falling squarely between two stalls. Die-hard proggers will dismiss it as an attempt to modernise and will throw at it all the same accusations they threw at Radiation and Marillion.com. Non-proggers will moan at the long tracks and say it just goes on too long.
In fact, both camps will be missing out if they take those views. Anoraknophobia is simply much better than either .com or Radiation and die-hard proggers should give it time. If they can't see the prog influences in When I Meet God (which isn't trying to be The Drugs Don't Work, by the way, it's just typical Hogarth), The Fruit of the Wild Rose and If My Heart were a Ball....., then their prog collections aren't big enough.
And those who dismiss Marillion as a bunch of old hippies who are trying and failing to bring their sound up-to-date should cut them a little slack. Quartz and This is the 21st Century might be a bit too long for some tastes but that shouldn't detract from their obvious quality. And if just about any old song covered by a famous and 'hip' group or person deserves radio play (including, apparently, that awful version of American Pie from Madonna) then the super radio-friendly Map of the World should also. But then, there's never been any justice in the Music Business, has there?
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 24 April 2001
As a long-term Marillion fan who lost interest a few albums back, I was very pleasantly surprised to hear "Anaroknophobia", their twelfth album. An excellent return to form, this is more like it chaps!
The title refers to the supposed image of their army of "anorak" fans. Whether or not this stereotype has much truth to it, the fans loyalty is such that they paid in advance for the band to record this album. Yes, I'll repeat that in case you didn't get it, or hadn't heard about it before... THE NEW MARILLION ALBUM WAS INITIALLY FUNDED BY THEIR WORLDWIDE FANS AFTER AN E-MAIL REQUEST FROM THE BAND! Not because they were desperate, but so that they could take full control of their destiny rather than be at the mercy of record companies. As the title suggests, whatever others may think, Marillion themselves certainly see no reason to disrespect their "anorak" fans, or even be afraid of them!
The album as a whole covers an extraordinary range of styles, and not only that, they actually work. Marillion are certainly remaining true to their intention of shaking off the stereotype that many people have of them, but at the same time certain trademarks remain that their existing fans will love. Many of the songs are comprised of several different sections, the vast majority of these changes working very well indeed. Some general pointers in the musical direction of "Anaroknophobia" could include Pink Floyd, Massive Attack, Garbage, even U2, but much is not obviously categorizable.
The first song opens with a few bars of Mark Kelly piano, and then in to a belter, "Between You And Me", which reminded me of mid-period Rush. The next track "Quartz" is a kind of dub-reggae vibe. After 5 minutes and a bit of rapping from Steve Hogarth, the song shifts into a classic and mainly instrumental section that had me dancing around my room! As good as anything Marillion have ever written. "Map Of The World" is well-produced quality American rock but still very much Marillion. "When I Meet God" has some rather sobering reflections on modern life. Of course Marillion fans are no strangers to lyrics about emotional pain and loneliness, but there is a refreshing unpretentious honesty being expressed here. "Why do I feel so broken?... I'm so sick of feeling, its ruined my life" are the kind of words that many of us can relate to more than ever in 2001? (or is it just me!?). "The Fruit Of The Wild Rose" is mainly a jazz-blues number with some excellent Rothery guitar in the last section, "Separated Out" has echoes of The Stranglers and a fascinating sample at the end that emerges out of a sinister riff.
"This Is The 21st Century" is a very striking track, possibly the best track on the album. It is pretty "cosmic" by any standards. A rolling drum loop and atmospherics set the tone for an 11 minute deep and sexy groove. Hogarth asks for the return of magic and intuition in a world dominated by scientific and rational explanations. "If My Heart Were A Ball It Would Roll Uphill" wins the prize for the longest title, and is another unusual cocktail of musical styles that works well.
Overall, an excellent album that deserves to help re-establish Marillion as a musical and spiritual force to be reckoned with.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 May 2001
How can Marillion sound so different from one CD to the next without ever losing their hallmarks or consistency of sound and imagination? 'Anoraknophobia' is both entirely fresh and exactly what we expect from Britain's hardest-working songwriters. Whereas their previous CDs tended to features songs which experimented and innovated with different time signatures, melodies and shifts of mood to create wonderfully angular, composite epics, the songs on this CD work within more conventional forms but play subtly inside them too. Check out 'Quartz', for example: a funky groove throughout, but with some of the most wonderfully unanticipated shifts inside it. It's absolutely terrific. I also was really impressed with 'If My Heart Was a Ball ...': full of tension, power and drive. Marillion are experts in timing, knowling exactly how long to hold back before a change or shift, how long each section of a song should last, when to come back to the beginning or change direction. The lyrics are entirely appropriate to the different feel of each song; don't let impatient reviewers put you off. This CD should make Marillion squillionaires, if there's any justice to be had. It's as good as 'Marillion.com' and much better than 'Radiation', and more consistent that 'This Strange Engine'. I've been listening to Marillion since 1982 and this is the most excited I've been about a new release from the band. Buy it, give it your best friend, buy it again. It's wonderful.
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