Marillion - Radiation

Year of Release: 1998
Label: Velvel
Catalog Number: 63467 79760-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 63:22:00

When I heard that Marillion's latest, Radiation, was different from what had come before, I didn't imagine just how much so. What hasn't changed, of course, is their use of dynamics, their musicianship. So, while overall, this is departure from last year's This Strange Engine, it's definitely one from anything that's come before.

The closest song to Marillion of the past is the closer "A Few Words For The Dead," which structurally and sonically could have been from the Brave period. Thematically, probably not. The first half or so is quite ambient, the latter half is mid-tempo, a few notches below Brave's "Hard As Love." If you were able to round up all the monsters society has produced, not just in recent times but throughout all human history, and were able to offer them some advice, this song would be it. But, that's just one reading. In another, you will think of the "The troubles" and IRA bombings. In yet another, American militia groups. The truth is, it's all that - simultaneously - with but a single message: "You could love" instead.

"Under The Sun" is an ironic look at our attitudes towards the environment, full of angular rhythms uncharacteristic of Marillion. I thought of Live, actually - there is a similar vibe here.

In taking notes as I listened to "The Answering Machine" (play on words intended), I was struck by this thought: Oasis fronted by Steve Hogarth. Not that I'm all that familiar with Oasis, mind you, but enough that the thought seemed apt. Actually, this song works on a couple of levels. That Hogarth's vocals sound as if they're lifted from a machine (not sure, probably), reinforces the idea that some of us (more and more) are comfortable leaving a quick message for someone rather than speaking to them directly.

The other level is that the song itself is the message. A year from now, maybe two, or maybe it's already happened, this song would be called, "An Email Message" (or, more obviously, "You've Got Mail"). So, that's an effective little number.

"Three Minute Boy" is mostly familiar Marillion, though not really imitative of past work. Actually, what I thought of thematically was a much earlier Marillion tune, "Tux-On." I'm also thinking of Foreigner "Juke Box Hero." There's probably hundreds of similarly themed tunes as well, that I haven't named. Saying "this must be about..." is being too fine tuned about it; it's really about anyone who's made it big. It's about the cyclic nature of the music industry as a microcosm for the cyclic nature of human attention to anything. What's big today, is nothing tomorrow. You may be the employee of the month now, but next month you could be out of a job.

"Now She'll Never Know" is a fragile, gentile lament of interpersonal conflicts - here it is of the spousal kind. Hogarth's understated vocals here only add to the sadness of regret, not for things said, but more for things left unsaid - that can now never be said.

The least characteristic track here is "Born To Run," a smoldering blues number, the kind of slow blues you'd expect to hear at 2:00 a.m., while the last two patrons in the bar, strangers to each other, dance together, hanging on tight because they've not nobody else. All that isn't in the lyrics. Well, not really. The lyrics are more, perhaps, about these two.

Included on this US release of the album are two bonus tracks - "Estonia (Acoustic Studio Version)", which has lost none of its power in this different setting, and "Memory of Water", which gives the track a different character (and includes the fog horn intro from Brave).

I like this album for the most part. It's different, and that'll take a bit getting used to. Not that I expect Marillion to stay in the same place, but some of those familiar touchstones are gone. The extended lyrical guitar solos of Rothery's are pretty much missing. Time will tell how it rates against their previous albums.

[In the Fall/Winter 1998 issue (#29) of Progression, editor John Collinge speaks with Steve Hogarth. -ed.]

Costa Del Slough (1:27) / Under The Sun (4:10) / The Answering Machine (3:48) / Three Minute Boy (5:59) / Now She'll Never Know (4:58) / These Chains (4:49) / Born To Run (5:11)/ Cathedral Wall (7:20) / A Few Words For The Dead (10:50) / Estonia (Acoustic Studio Version) (6:43) / Memory of Water (Big Beat Mix) (8:07)

Steve Hogarth - vocals
Steve Rotherty - guitars
Mark Kelly - keyboards
Pete Trewavas - bass
Ian Mosley - drums and percussion

Script For A Jester's Tear (1983)
Fugazi (1984)
Reel To Real (1984)
Misplaced Childhood (1985)
Brief Encounter (ep) (1985)
Clutching At Straws (1987/1999)
The Thieving Magpie (1988)
B-Sides Themselves (1988)
Season's End (1989)
Holidays In Eden (1991)
A Singles Collection 1982-1992 (1992)
Live At The Borderline (1992)*
Live In Caracas (1993)*
Live In Glasgow (1993)*
Brave (1994)
The Making Of Brave (1995)*
Afraid Of Sunlight (1995)
Made Again (1996)
Kayleigh (1996) (Dutch comp)
Essential Collection (1996) (UK comp; same as above)
Real To Reel/Brief Encounter (1997)
Best Of Both Worlds (1997)
This Strange Engine (1997)
Tales From The Engine Room (1998)*
Rochester (1998)*
Piston Broke (1998)*
Radiation (1998)
Christmas 1998: The Web Christmas (1998)**
Kayliegh: The Essential Collection (1998) (UK comp.; diff. from above)
Unplugged At The Walls (1999)* (1999)
Zodiac (1999)*
Christmas 1999: (1999)** (or bonus disk) (Ver 1-2000)*
The Singles: '82 - '88 (box set) (2000/2009)
Christmas 2000: A Piss-Up In A Brewery**
Crash Course (Sampler) (2000)
ReFracted! (2001)*
Anoraknophobia (2001)
Another DAT At The Office (2001)*
Christmas 2001: A Verry Barry Christmas (2001)**
Fallout (2002)*
Anorak In The UK Live (2002)* (or bonus disk) (Ver 2-2002)*
Brave Live 2002 (2002)*
Caught In The Net (2002)*
Crash Course (Sampler) (2002)*
The Singles: '89 -'95 (2002)
Brave Live (2002)*
AWOL (2002)**
Christmas 2002: Santa And Elvis (2002)**
The Best of Marillion (2003)
View From The Balcony (2003)**
Christmas 2003: Say Cheese! Christmas With Marillion (2003)**
Curtain Call (2004) (3CD Box)*
Crash Course (2004)*
Marbles (2004)
Remixomatosis (2004)*
Christmas 2004: Baubles (2004)**
Popular Music (CD oop, avail. as download only) (2005)** (or bonus disk) (Ver 3-2005)*
View From The Balcony (Sampler) (Ver 2-2005)*
Marbles By The Sea (2005)*
Marbles Live (2005)*
Handful Of Marbles (Sampler) (2005)*
Christmas 2005: Merry Xmas To Our Flock (2005)**
Unzipped (The Making Of 'Anoraknophobia') (2005)*
Crash Course (Ver 4 - 2006)*
Smoke (2006)*
Mirrors (2006)*
Marbles Vinyl Edition (2006)
Christmas 2006: Jingle Book (2006)**
Somewhere Else (2007)
Crash Course (Ver 5 - 2007)*
Christmas 2007: Somewhere Elf (2007)**
Friends (2007)*
Family (2007)*
Crash Course (Ver 6 - 2008)*
Happiness Is The Road - Volume 1: Essence (2008)
Happiness Is The Road - Volume 2: The Hard Shoulder (2008)
Early Stages - The Official Bootlegs 1982-1987 (6CD Box) (2008)
Christmas 2008: Pudding On The Ritz (2008)**
Happiness Is Cologne (2009)*
Live From Loreley (2009)
Recital Of The Script (2009)
Less Is More (2009)
Tumbling Down The Years (2010)*
Size Matters (2010)*
Keep The Noise Down (sampler) (2010)*
Live In Montreal / Saturday (2010)*
Live In Montreal / Sunday (2010)*
The Official Bootleg Box Set, Vol. 2 (2010)
Live From Cadogan Hall (2010)*
Afraid Of Sunlight Live 2003 (2011)*
This Strange Engine Live 2007 (2011)*
Live In Montreal / Friday (2011)*
Season's End Live 2009 (2011)*
Holidays In Eden Live 2011 (2011)*
Best Live (2011)* Deluxe Digipack (2011)
Somewhere Else (2LP) (2011)
Marbles Deluxe Digipack (2011)
Marbles (2LP) (2011)
A-Z (2012)*
This Strange Engine - Deluxe Digipack (2012)
Fugazi (LP) (2012)
Holidays In Eden (LP) (2012)
Sounds That Can't Be Made (2012)
Sounds That Can't Be Made - Deluxe Edition (2012)
The Glow Must Go On (2012)*
Crash Course (2012)*
Sounds Live (2012)*
Anoraknophobia (LP) (2012)
Sleighed Again (Christmas 2012) (2012)**
Best Of Montreal (2013)*
Best Of Leamington (2013)*
Brave Live 2013 (2013)*
Best.Live (LP box set) (2013)
Radiation 2013 (2013)
Brave (LP) (2013)
Misplaced Childhood (LP) (2013)
Clocks Already Ticking (CD/DVD) (2013)*
Brave Live 2002 (CD/DVD) (2013)
Radiation 2013 (LP) (2013)
Somewhere In London (CD/DVD) (2013)
Afraid Of Sunlight (LP) (2013)
Clutching At Straws (LP) (2013)
Sounds That Can't Be Made (LP) (2013)
Sounds That Can't Be Made - 2013 Special Edition (2013)*
Proggin Around The Christmas Tree (Christmas 2013) (2013)**
A Sunday Night Above The Rain (dlx bx set) (2014)*
A Sunday Night Above The Rain (Holland version) (2014)*
A Sunday Night Above The Rain (Montreal version) (2014)*
A Sunday Night Above The Rain (3LP) (2014)*
Unsound (DL) (2014)*
A Collection Of Recycled Gifts (xmas comp.) (2014)*
Live At The Forum (2014)
Chile For The Time Of Year (Christmas 2014) (2014)*
Best Sounds (2014)
Glass Half Full (2015
F.E.A.R. (2016)
Waves & Numbers (2016)*
Marbles In The Park (2016)*
Singles Night (2016)*
Live In Chile (2017)*
The Gold - Best Of Convention 2017 (2017)*
Misplaced Childhood (dlx CD/BR) (2017)
Misplaced Childhood (dlx LP) (2017)
Marbles In The Park (LP) (2017)*
Holidays In Eden Live (ltd ed) (2018)
Size Matters (ltd ed) (2018)
Unplugged At The Walls (ltd ed) (2018)
Tumbling Down The Years (ltd ed) (2018)
Smoke (ltd ed) (2018)
Mirrors (ltd ed) (2018)
All One Tonight (2018)
Happiness Is Cologne (ltd ed) (2018)
Popular Music (ltd ed) (2018)
Brave (dlx CD/BR) (2018)*
Brave (dlx LP) (2018)* (2018)* (2018)* (2018)*
Mr. Taurus - The Making Of Somewhere Else (2018)*
Satellite Navigation - The Making Of Happiness Is The Road (2019)*
Live In Glasgow (ltd ed) (2019)
Brave Live 2013 (ltd ed) (2019)
With Friends From The Orchestra (LP) (2019)
Afraid Of Sunlight (Dlx CD/BR) (2019)

Recital Of The Script (VHS/DVD) (1983/2003)
Grendel/The Web (VHS EP) (1984)
1983-86 The Videos (VHS [oop]) (1986)
Live From Loreley (VHS/DVD) (1987/2004)
From Stoke Row To Ipanema (VHS/DVD) (1990/2003)
A Singles Collection 1982-1992 (DVD) (1992)
Brave, The Film (VHS/DVD) (1995/2004)
Shot In The Dark (VHS/DVD [oop]) (2000/2002)*
The EMI Singles Collection (DVD [PAL only])(2002)
A Piss-up In A Brewery (DVD) (2002/2010)*
Brave Live 2002 (DVD) (2002)*
Christmas In The Chapel (DVD) (2003)*
Before First Light (DVD) (2003)*
Wish You Were Here (DVD box, oop) (2005)*
Colours And Sound (DVD) (2006)*
Marbles On The Road (DVD) (2005)
Bootlet Butlins (DVD) (2007)*
Somewhere In London (DVD) (2007*/2013)
This Strange Convention (DVD) (2009)*
Snow De Cologne (DVD) (2009)**
Out Of Season (box set) (DVD) (2010)*
Ding Dong Loreley On High (live) (DVD) (2010)
In-Tube DVD Sampler (DVD) (2010)
Out Of Season (DVD boxset) (2010)*
Live In Montreal (3DVD) (2011)*
Holidays In Zelande (BR) (2012)*
Clocks Already Ticking (CD/DVD) (2013)*
Brave Live 2002 (CD/DVD) (2013)*
Brave Live 2013 (BR & DVD) (2013)*
A Sunday Night Above The Rain (BR & DVD) (2014)*
Breaking Records (BR) (2015)*
Unconventional (BR & DVD) (2016)*
Out Of The Box (BR & DVD) (2016)*
Out Of Season (BR) (2017)*
Web Xmas 2017 (DVD) (2017)**
Marbles In The Park (DVD/BR) (2017)
All One Tonight (DVD/BR) (2018)* (2019)*
* Racket Records releases; ** Fan Club only

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: January 1st 1999
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 2222
Language: english


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