What does it sound like?:
OK – cards on the table – I’ve loved this album since I bought it when it was originally released way back in 1985: the artwork, the lyrics, the music, the whole shooting match. Now it gets a deserved release as a whopping deluxe set, comprising four cds plus a bluray disc. Bliss!!
So what do you get for your money? Firstly, a remastered version of the original album in all its glory, which sounds as good as the day I first heard it over thirty years ago. The second and third discs are devoted to a concert recorded in Holland in October 1985. As well as a great selection of songs from their first two albums, the show also has, as you’d expect, Misplaced Childhood performed in its entirety. This material is all previously unreleased apart from one track that appeared as a B side at the time. The fourth cd has a handful of contemporaneous B sides, together with demos for the full album. Again, all this has been remastered for this set, although the demos themselves have been available previously on the 1998 reissue of the album. As always seems to be the case with these things, these are interesting to hear as part of the history of the creation and development of the final piece, but I’m not sure how many people really go back and play them on more than the odd occasion. Finally, the bluray disc, which is the stand out item in the whole package. Steven Wilson has come up with a quite superb lossless 5.1 mix of the album, which is worth the price of admission in itself. Interestingly, he has not prepared a new stereo remix of the original album, believing in this case that the original could not be beaten. High praise indeed! Also included is a fascinating hour long documentary on the recording of the album, featuring all the participants, together with promo videos for the singles taken from the album – this includes a video for Lady Nina, only a non album B side here in the UK, but issued as a US single. If that wasn’t enough, the package is completed by a very well put together sixty page booklet with extensive notes on the making of the album, as well as the usual lyrics etc.
All in all, a great album that now sounds even better!
What does it all *mean*?
This album was surely the high point of Marillion’s career, although its follow up, Clutching At Straws, ran it close. I can give this set no higher praise than to say it is on a par with the excellent releases in the ongoing Jethro Tull series.
Goes well with…
Dancing in stilettos in the snow.
Might suit people who like…
Prog with a commercial flavour.