What does it sound like?:
Funny things, moods – some days I’m convinced Misplaced Childhood is Marillion’s finest hour, others I’m equally certain it’s this one, the final album of the Fish era, originally released in 1987. It’s an album that contains some of the band’s best work, Warm Wet Circles, Sugar Mice, Slainte Mhath, and also ironically one of my least favourite songs, Incommunicado, which always struck me as sounding rather like a Who cast off. It’s certainly an album that is best consumed in one sitting though, as one continuous piece of music. This grandiose box comprises four cds plus a bluray disc, although there’s not a huge amount of unreleased material on offer. What do you get? The original album remixed, a cd of demos and a two cd live set recorded in Edinburgh in December 1987 on the band’s final tour with Fish, some of which was used on 1988’s The Thieving Magpie live album. It’s a good gig for sure, spanning the band’s entire career and showcasing good chunks of both Misplaced Childhood and Clutching At Straws, and the band are on top form, as you’d expect playing in front of their ecstatic home crowd. The demos cd is basically the same as the bonus disc from the 1999 reissue, although the three B sides that led off that disc have been relegated to the bluray here – an odd decision given that there’s plenty of room left on the cd. The main selling point for me is the addition of four previously unreleased demos for CAS, bringing the total here up to six. There’s also seven demos for the never to be made fifth studio album, which give a tantalising glimpse of what might have been. The consensus seems to be that Marillion kept the music, some of it appearing on the subsequent Season’s End record, while Fish hung on to his lyrics, using them at various points on his first two solo albums. The bluray, as usual, gives the whole experience in glorious 5.1 sound, and is accompanied by a handful of promo videos and an excellent hour long documentary on the making of the album, hosted by Mick Wall and featuring the whole band in fine and very candid form. There’s also a first class sixty page booklet too – what more could you want? A great set that really does the album justice!
What does it all *mean*?
A fine addition to this series of deluxe reissues, which are every bit as good as the standard setting Tull releases. Fans will love it, and hopefully we’ll eventually see the first two albums given the same treatment.
Goes well with…
Pondering on what might have been.
Might suit people who like…
Fish, Marillion, rock with prog pretensions.