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A Perfect Prog Album
on 24 February 2016
It feels like it was just yesterday when I was in third year of secondary school as a prefect policing the bike sheds, when my prefect partner Gary played the opening three songs of Misplaced Childhood. It must have been something like 30 years ago, I don't really want to think to deeply about how much time has passed, but those opening three songs touched a part of my soul and heart that no song had ever touched before. It felt like I was Dorothy stepping out of the monochrome world of Kansas into the technicolor world of Oz. The multi-layered tracks, of Kelly's mythical keyboards, the haunting beauty of Rothery's guitar, and the soulful rhythm section of Trewavas and Mosely all combing with the siren call of Fish's evocative vocals, within seconds had me enthralled with their beauty and emotional punch.
It was a march made in heaven, music to make your heart sing or weep combined with lyrics that were so emotional that they couldn't help but speak to a love struck teenage boy. Songs of love, loss, heartache, pride and pain Misplaced Childhood was easily the peer of any of the so called prog classics. Where Marillion stood apart from their peers and those who went before them was in the working class nature of their music, where Genesis and Yes were firmly rooted in the middle and upper classes, the music of Marillion transcended the class boundaries of the genre and spoke to those of us across the divide.
With Misplaced Childhood we could relate to the songs, a simple kids song becomes a love letter to the lonely, Heart of Midlothian becomes a rallying call for the Braveheart Generation and White Feather becomes a call for all us who felt disenfranchised and lost.
Even now the power of Fish's lyrics remain pertinent to our world
"Soup ladies poised on the lips of the poor
I see children with vacant stares, destined for rape in the alleyways
Does anybody care, I can't take any more!
Should we say goodbye?
I see priests, politicians?
Heroes in black plastic body-bags under nations' flags
I see children pleading with outstretched hands
Fish may have said that "we are proud to own our hearts, because these are our hearts", but for 41 minutes Fish you held both my heart and soul in the palm of your hand.