Marillion - Marbles

Year of Release: 2004
Label: Intact Records / Dead Ringer (dist. Caroline Distribution)
Catalog Number: 12772 (2CD) / 6501 (1CD)
Format: CD
Total Time: 00:00:00

Marbles; who of us did not play with them when we were kids? If I see those marbles again, I get a feeling of nostalgia over me, thinking back to the time I was young and life was so much better. In a way, that is what Marillion has done with their new album, Marbles: it makes you think back of the great albums such as Brave, Afraid Of Sunlight and even This Strange Engine. The feeling I get when listening to Marbles is a mixture of Brave and This Strange Engine, specifically the atmosphere in songs like "One Fine Day" and "This Strange Engine." So after a few questionable albums (Radiation,, Marillion are back with their 13th studio album, and ... with producer Dave Meegan!

Marbles comes very close to Brave, although this one is even more in the vein of (the Floyd side of) Porcupine Tree. The return of Dave Meegan, who also produced Brave and Afraid Of Sunlight, definitely has had a very good effect on the album. The sound is fantastic. Steve Hogarth's vocals come out very good in this context, as I personally love his emotional voice, although in opener "The Invisible Man," he somewhat swallows his words a bit. Of course since Fish left, the style of Marillion changed quite a bit, and I do miss the over the top keyboard work from Mark Kelly at times, but this more mellow style works well for them. The guitar play of Steve Rothery has become more subtle and will take some time to fully hear every detail of his play. Headphones would do great here!

"You're Gone" is released as a single and the band are mobilizing all their fans to buy the single and thus get Marillion back in the charts. In the UK, where prog is systematically banned from the radio, this seem to work, but also in Holland, "You're Gone" shows up very high in the charts, so it seems to work. Despite the very obvious electronic beat in the song, there are still enough elements in the song to keep it interesting and might appeal to the pop generation, who then can get in touch with the wonderful world of progressive rock. My favourite song of the album is "Angelina," an almost jazzy song, which is simply beautiful in all aspects. Here the deep bass sound of Trewavas comes out really good.

Marillion was the band that got me into progressive rock, so they'll always have a special place in my musical heart, but no matter how big a fan I was, I was disappointed in the band, as Radiation was the first album I did not buy. So I was very anxious to hear Marbles, to see if they changed and they did. When I hear Marbles, I hear the Marillion that I have come to love with Season's End and Brave, and so far I haven't heard a weak or bad song on the album. The atmosphere is great, warm, ambient and filled with emotion. In this respect the song "Marbles IV" stands out a bit, as it has some more power to it, a bit more up tempo, with a bit of a Beatlesque sound.

Marillion is truly back, with one of their best albums to date, a balanced, atmospherical album, an album to be proud of. Great production by Dave Meegan, who in the past has shown he understands how Marillion must sound. The tracklisting as shown down here a, is NOT from the 2CD album that will be released, but it is from the promotional copy I received. If you compare this tracklisting with the official one on the Marillion website, you'll find the order is different and the 2CD version includes 4 more tracks. And I have heard that includes a 25 minute track [yes, the sublime "Ocean Cloud" - Marillionite/PW ed.], so the band really treats us to lot's of fantastic music. A must have for the fans, but also for those who have been disappointed in the band, might find this album to be the Marillion they used to know. Very highly recommended! Excellent album.

[Obviously, I've included both tracklistings here with this "reprint" - ed.]

[This review originally appeared May 2004 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]
2-Disc Version: Disc One: The Invisible Man (13:37) / Marbles I (1:42) / Genie (4:54) / Fantastic Place (6:12) / The Only Unforgivable Thing (7:13) / Marbles II (2:02) / Ocean Cloud (17:58)

Disc Two: Marbles III (1:51) / The Damage (4:35) / Don't Hurt Yourself (5:48) / You're Gone (6:25) / Angelina (7:42) / Drilling Holes (5:11) / Marbles IV (1:26) / Neverland (12:10) - TOTAL TIME: 53:43/45:14

1-Disc Version: The Invisible Man (13:37) / Marbles I (1:46) / You're Gone (6:28) / Angelina (7:41) / Marbles II (1:55) / Don't Hurt Yourself (5:48) / Fantastic Place (6:12) / Marbles III (1:51) / Drilling Holes (5:11) / Marbles IV (1:25) / Neverland (12:09) / Bonus Track European Version: You're Gone (Single Mix) (4:00) or Enhanced Track North American Version: Don't Hurt Yourself (Promotional Video) -- TOTAL TIME: 62:03 plus bonus material

Steve Hogarth - vocals, hammered dulcimer
Steve Rothery - guitar, bass
Pete Trewavas - bass, acoustic guitar
Ian Mosley - drums, percussion
Mark Kelly - keyboards

Guest: Carrie Tree - additional vocals (1:3, 2:5)

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)
Rochester (1998)*
Piston Broke (1998)*
Tales From The Engine Room (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)**
Family (2007)*
Friends (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)
Size Matters (2010)*
Tumbling Down The Years (2010)*
The Official Bootleg Box Set, Vol. 2 (2010)
Live From Cadogan Hall (2010)*
Live In Montreal / Saturday (2010)*
Live In Montreal / Sunday (2010)*
Keep The Noise Down (sampler) (2010) Deluxe Digipack (2011)
Somewhere Else (2LP) (2011)
Marbles Deluxe Digipack (2011)
Marbles (2LP) (2011)
Live In Montreal / Friday (2011)*
Season's End Live 2009 (2011)*
This Strange Engine Live 2007 (2011)*
Afraid Of Sunlight Live 2003 (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)
Crash Course (2012)*
Sounds Live (2012)*
Anoraknophobia (LP) (2012)
The Glow Must Go On (2012)*
Sleighed Again (Christmas 2012) (2012)**
Best.Live (LP box set) (2013)
Radiation 2013 (2013)
Brave (LP) (2013)
Misplaced Childhood (LP) (2013)
Clocks Already Ticking (CD/DVD) (2013)*
Best Of Leamington (2013)*
Best Of Montreal (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)
Brave Live 2013 (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)*
A Collection Of Recycled Gifts (xmas comp.) (2014)*
Live At The Forum (2014)
Chile For The Time Of Year (Christmas 2014) (2014)*
Glass Half Full (2015)
F.E.A.R. (2016)
Waves & Numbers (2016)*
Marbles In The Park (2016)*
Singles Night (2016)*

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)
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)

* Racket Records releases; ** Fan Club only

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: December 18th 2004
Reviewer: Marcel Haster
Artist website:
Hits: 969
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]