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Released: May 3, 2004


Rating: 4.404 (average of 8 ratings)


Genre: rock > neo-progressive


Quotable: ”a stunning collection of finely crafted songs with heartfelt lyrics that are very eccentric but stirring and often wonderful” – Neil Daniels, MusicOMH.com


Album Tracks, Disc 1:

  1. The Invisible Man [13:37]
  2. Marbles I [1:42]
  3. Genie [4:54]
  4. Fantastic Place [6:12]
  5. The Only Unforgivable Thing [7:13]
  6. Marbles II [2:02]
  7. Ocean Cloud [17:58]

Album Tracks, Disc 2:

  1. Marbles III [1:51]
  2. The Damage [4:35]
  3. Don't Hurt Yourself [5:48]
  4. You're Gone [6:25]
  5. Angelina [7:42]
  6. Drilling Holes [5:11]
  7. Marbles IV [1:26]
  8. Neverland [12:10]

All songs written by Hogarth/ Rothery/ Kelly/ Trewavas/ Mosley.


Sales (in millions):

sales in U.S. only --
sales in U.K. only - estimated --
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated --


Peak:

peak on U.S. Billboard album chart --
peak on U.K. album chart --


Singles/Hit Songs:


Notes: This double album was also released as an initially more widely available single CD German import. That track listing is as follows: 1. The Invisible Man 2. Marbles I 3. You’re Gone 4. Angelina 5. Marbles II 6. Don’t Hurt Yourself 7. Fantastic Place 8. Marbles III 9. Drilling Holes 10. Marbles IV 11. Neverland 12. You’re Gone (single mix)


Marbles
Marillion
Review:
“There are not many artists who have the confidence or sheer talent to record a concept album in the artificial state of contemporary popular music…Marillion, the cult prog-rock band, have excelled themselves with Marbles; a superlative album largely made of atmospheric emotional pop reminiscent of Peter Gabriel-era Genesis and early Pink Floyd.” ND

Since their debut with “Script for a Jester’s Tear in 1983, similarities with the aforementioned bands have always plagued Marillion. The ‘other world’ artwork, extended songs and idiosyncratic music are blatantly going to result in the three bands being lumped together…Yet those inevitable comparisons should actually be seen as flattering, and they do not undermine Marillion’s brilliance at creating strong melodies and powerful emotions.” ND

“For many out there who only remember ‘Kayleigh’ from way, way back in the dark ages known as the mid-‘80s, this is not the same Marillion, yet in a way it is” (J Dunphy). Marillion has not “changed or modernized their sound like so many bands attempt to do when their star begins to descend; [instead they just continue to] “evolve” (J. Dunphy).

“The band are aiming for windswept, organic rock and sound like a-ha meets Rush in a rest home for acid casualties. But there's a lot to like.” BC “Marillion…make the kind of music they want to make regardless of current public taste or persuasions of record executives. As the press release for Marbles states, Marillion refuse ‘to compromise by bowing to marketing pressures, focus groups or record labels.’” ND They “are underdogs, who after each album seem to disappear only to make a surprising comeback…They rarely enter any ‘Greatest Bands in the World’ polls, but superficial debates hardly concern them. They have a very strong and dedicated fanbase, who by pre-ordering Marbles helped to create campaign funds to promote the album” ND and pay the “band's recording costs, with the faithful rewarded by mentions in CD sleeves.” BC Few bands can claim to have such a mass of loyal, international followers.” ND

This same process “produced their previous effort, a quixotic blend of prog and trip known as Anoraknophobia. Their newest promised to be far more ambitious…it would be a two-disc set of new music housed in a hardcover book. Sounds interesting, but packaging music has little to do with music…The question was whether Marbles would be worth the hype.” DD

It proves to be “a stunning collection of finely crafted songs with heartfelt lyrics that are very eccentric but stirring and often wonderful.” ND What is noticeable about Marbles, and indeed most Marillion records, is the painstaking attention to detail - it is as if every lyric and every note was held under intense scrutiny in the studio until absolute perfection was achieved.” ND ”Where some groups are content to let their songs be soundtracks to their listeners’ moments, this group has collected a bunch of songs that cannot provide background. These songs are moments in and of themselves.” DD “Each song on the album has its own feel and identity. Constantly changing moods, Marbles is an unpredictable and dramatic, but intriguing journey…Jazz, pop, rock and even touches of techno have presence here; such talented musicianship and obvious love of music represents Marillion’s undeniable desire to evolve.” ND

“Steve Hogarth, the voice of the band, has come into his own as a lyricist, reaching down into the most poetic side of the group’s personality to produce songs with specific frames of reference but are not adaptations. Mark Kelly’s keyboards carry the full spectrum of sound, from the Fender Rhodes to the stars while Steve Rothery continues to be one of rock’s most overlooked natural wonders. Some rhythm sections just hold down a beat, but the complicated shifts of tone, from Beatlesque to jazz-inflected to a full-on crunch, is something bassist Pete Trewavas and drummer Ian Mosely make effortless, sounding instinctive. This band is a cohesive whole.” DD

“The overseer of this, Dave Meegan who has been with the band as producer since the early ‘90s, is now represented as the sixth member, and rightly so. His ear has helped define the unique…Marillion sound…With mixing assist from production wunderkind and Porcupine Tree impresario Steven Wilson, [Meegan] takes great care to keep things distinctively Marillion.” DD

The ”volatile” ND The Invisible Man, “opens the set with a trademark suite” DD “a 14-minute track that makes Meat Loaf/Jim Steinman songs seem like brief interludes.” ND “It is a brooding song with haunting vocals and a steady bass line” ND and it is “never so lingering as to grow boring, and always rising to peak and emotion.” DD

Genie shows the pop-rock side, something the guys have done for years, and how they’ve been ignored this long by the larger marketplace I’ll never know. I dare you to not be singing along by the end.” DD

“On every Marillion release there is a song that just gathers you up in a feeling, moves you and soars into the closing portion. This time around, it is Fantastic Place, a song that could be the best thing this group has ever done… From the low-key, blue-eyed blues in the opening one would never suspect the take-off coming, but when it does, the goosebumps must rise.” DD

“Disc one closes with another long piece that is as close as rock has ever come to sounding like an Ernest Hemingway novel. Ocean Cloud is a drama and shows how intense these players can get. If you thought ‘The Invisible Man’ rocked, just wait.” DD

“Disc Two finds the loose and sexy The Damage [and] the jazzy Angelina,” DD the latter of which is a “lovely hymn to a saucy breakfast show DJ.” BC

Second single Don’t Hurt Yourself “may be the closest Marillion will ever get to country music…With the acoustic guitar and a clean fill of steel guitar sliding, this is an excellent driving song filled with singalong potential and rolled-down windows.” DD

The first single, “You’re Gone…entered the UK charts at number seven, which proves that their reputation has not been tarnished…There is a void in the charts that is yearning for something new and intriguing, and Marbles comfortably fills that black hole.” ND This song displays “the disillusionment and sweaty fervor of a middle-aged crisis.” BC

“Interspersed between the two discs are four short segue pieces, Marbles 1-4. Each one acts as a magician’s left hand, misdirecting you while he sets the trick with the right. Some of them sound ready to burst into larger things while others shed a narrow light on the meaning behind the album’s title… Is it about nascent insanity, the loss of childhood innocence, the intended expulsion of childhood? The mini songs hint at all but still leave you guessing.” DD

“The set closes with the last of the long pieces, a rumination of love; the way that it holds us, heals us and sometimes haunts us. There are only fleeting references to Neverland’s characters of Wendy and Peter Pan. The song is more about the eternal man-child relinquishing his youth for that one, true love that does all the previously mentioned things. The music is both wonderful and sad, as if to comment that to love is to open yourself up to mortality, the ultimate end of both love and life, but it is somehow worth it. The tragedy is in leaving it unrequited.” DD

“In short, the band has produced the quintessential Marillion release, full of drama, mood, deep blues and euphoric highs.” DD


Review Source(s):


Related DMDB Links:

Previous Album: Anoraknophobia (2001) Marillion’s DMDB page Next Album: Somewhere Else (2007)


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Last updated March 10, 2011.