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Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

on 1 October 2012
I understand that some found this album a little commercial - it does have an easy going feel. Perhaps a tad 'poppy' in places. Perhaps not?
That's why I like it - there are some catchy pieces; however, I do think they fit beautifully. What's wrong with a little lightness?
I suppose examples of this might be the 'kind of folksy' "Estonia" and the calypso tinged "Hope For The Future". I love 'em.
I just find this CD a satisfying experience - you can really listen to it, or have it as background.
It's all topped with the stunning title track - a song that builds and builds to a stunning crescendo. The song lasts a bit over over 15 minutes but goes on in virtual silence for another 15, ending with some fatuous giggling. A bit of Marillion playfulness no doubt. Just press stop when the music stops!!!
I bought this as a replacement for my old copy having just bought their staggering new album - "Sounds That Can't Be Made" - (fast becoming a very firm favourite), quite a contrast! The two albums are quite different and that is the great thing about Marillion!!!
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on 4 November 2017
Marillion, Fantastic cd. Absolutely fantastic, what an amazing band, and h’ puts heart and soul into every song.
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on 18 May 2013
Marillion are a very unique band who just keep going , producing music that people come to enjoy this album gives fans the usual mix of beautifull gentle songs and the more intense lengthy tracks like This Strange engine which takes the music back to the earlier form . Agreat 90s album .
For those who miss the early magic of Genesis and the departure of Pink Floyd This Strange Engine delievers.
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on 21 August 2011
I have been a Marillion fan from the band's conception. Marbles and Afraid of sunlight are often singled out as Post Fish's best albums. They are undoubtedly very special but in my opinion this is equally as good...perhaps even better. If you don't own this album you are really missing out on some memorable songs.
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on 2 February 2017
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on 20 January 2014
I know that all music is a matter of taste so suffice it to say that IF you like Marillion you will probably love this. The two Steves at thier best.
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on 16 March 2010
This album was released in 1997, when the UK music scene was dominated by The Verve, Oasis, Blur, inter alia. The band's previous 2 albums had both been maginificemt and revelatory, but here they were, seemingly broke, with sprockets and steam surging out of the engine. They chose not to go with the crowd and release an album of drum n' bass, but decided to do what the Hogarth Era band do best - release another maginificent and revelatory work. The opening track 'Man of a Thousand Faces' is instant and provoking - "You Spend the Money My Logo's Printed On" grabs the listener. Who is this chap? He explains his face is seen on the stones of the Parthenon and his song can be heard in the "Babble of Babylon" - is it us, or a Godhead, or Pan, or even Satan? What logo on what money? Is it the eye in the triangle or the capless pyramid? It is an excellent song and placing it at the front of the album means the rest of the tracks will have to be very solid, in order to stop the listener quickly going back to listen to track one again.

What follows are various songs which although not grabbing the listener to the same extent, are of sufficient quality to make this album a 'grower'. 'One Fine Day' is just that and 'Memory of Water has something about it which is old-world folk. It is a stripped down song, which made me think of something a fishing community may have sung at a funeral or a wake. Or maybe that is my own memory of water streaming through.

I didn't much like 'Accidental Man' - but the opening line to the next song, 'Hope For the Future' makes up for this - "I've been feeling kind of down and loose like a Rosicrucian pope". That lyric certainly made be sit up. It starts like an acoustic blues, then goes all calypso, with a backing choir. It would sound great on the soundtrack to 'The Lion King' or another kids animated film. A film exec should look into that. Personally I didn't like it though. But if I was a kid with a Buzz Lightyear back pack I'd probably love it. It's a wee bit 'Call Me Al' by Paul Simon.

Then we get to the last track, "This Strange Engine". The word 'epic' is banded about too much, but it fits here. The lyrical imagery is superb and matched perfectly with the musical themes. It's one of those songs which feels more like an experience than a button on an MP3 player. It's 15 minutes of bliss. As an individual song I'd say it continues where the 'Afraid of Sunlight' and 'Brave' albums left off, but is better than any of the songs on those 2 great albums.
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on 23 September 2014
Found this to be a disappointing album. Certainly the weakest of the four Hogarth albums that I've got.
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on 21 October 2006
After parting company with EMI and going 'indie', Marillion had to come up with something good. This Strange Engine provides the listener with Marillions most commercial moments since Holidays In Eden. The album is a surprisingly laid back, acoustic guitar based effort, but the songs are terrific. Man Of A Thousand Faces is excellent, starting out as acoustic guitar pop number and ending up as a seven minute plus epic complete with choir.

One Fine Day is a traditional Marillion ballad with a bluesy whiff. 80 Days is classic Crowded House. Estonia is a beautifully dark anthem that wouldn't sound out of place on Brave. Accidental Man is a good rocky work out that I find reminiscent of The Police at their most enrgetic, and the title track is the longest, most proggy track the band have knocked out since 1982's fondly remembered Grendel. The only let down, song-wise is Hope For The Future. Marillion doing samba is frankly the stuff of nightmares. Also Memory Of Water is quite forgettable (I prefer the big beat version).

The biggest let down on this album is the weak, limp wristed production. Ian Mosley's drums have never sounded so wet. Just compare the sound on this album with the sound on Clutching At Straws and Brave if you don't believe me!

Luckily, the songs are so good that you can forgive that one...just.

Perfect for a balmy summers evening.
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on 23 April 2012
An underrated album in my opinion.

The album starts off with their best ever opening track, Man of a thousand faces. A delightfully catchy song with an uplifting chant at the end that builds to a majestic crescendo.

The title track is another complete winner, with various tempo changes and moods - and great, understated guitar work from Rothery. Great track to finish the album.

While the other tracks can't match the peak of the opening and closing track, there is still plenty to enjoy. In particular, the impressive One fine day, the catchy 80 days and the less popular (according to other reviews)An Accidental man - which I like - even though the tracks doesn't quite explode in the way that I felt it was going too.

All in all, another quality album from this magnificant band.
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