23 September 2016

Pass the Kool-aid

Well the much hyped and much leaked 18th studio album by Marillion, F.E.A.R. (Fuck Everyone and Run), has been released to a much expected level of frothing* by some uber-fans and music journalists. "The best thing since Brave", "Their best ever!" they exclaim (including a review in a Fleet Street broadsheet). Well it isn't...

I've been a Marillion fan since 1983, I like most of the band's releases and, in my opinion, think there are some classics in there. Will F.E.A.R. be amongst them? Well come back in a few years and let's see, it is ridiculous to rush to make such conclusions in the short space of time it has been available (even if we count the time it has been around illegally).

This time we have an edgy political "concept" album, in the same edgy vein as Gaza off the last album. In fact in many respects it is almost Gaza the album. The subject matter might be closer to home, but it has that vibe. Indeed it feels like the band have identified the best bits off the last few albums, tweaked them a bit and released them on the public. This does not mean it is a bad album, but the sound is very familiar, Hogarth's singing styles are similar to those he has used on the last couple of releases (a mix of whispering to an occasional full on H).

Overall I like the album, but I am not loving it. There is no stand out track like Neverland or even When I Meet God and it certainly is not on a par with Misplaced Childhood or Brave. Where does it rank? I don't know and to be honest I don't care. The proof in the pudding will be whether it is a "go to" album in six months time or be largely forgotten (Marillion.com I'm looking at you).

*and to an extent the naysayers who think everything Marillion does is boring and have to say so...

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