What does it sound like?:
Originally released in 1984, I’ve always harboured rather ambivalent feelings about this album, the band’s second effort. It’s certainly shows how they’d progressed from their debut, the previous year’s Script For A Jester’s Tear, but for me it’s not in the same league as the final two albums that were still to come in the Fish era. There are some strong songs on show on this 2021 remixed edition such as Assassing, Punch and Judy and the title track, but some of the other pieces are a bit Marillion by numbers for me and, although there’s some inventive musicianship, Fish’s lyrics are verbose to say the least, and at times he tries rather too hard with the puns and wordplay for his own good. Nonetheless, it was good listening to the album all the way through for the first time in a good few years, and I think the remix has brought some much needed added clarity and separation to the overall sound on the whole. Overall, I’d view it as a necessary stepping stone to reach the two best albums of this incarnation of the band, Misplaced Childhood (still one of my favourite albums) and Clutching At Straws. The other two cds in this package comprise a previously unreleased live show from Montreal recorded in 1984. Obviously this concentrates on showcasing the then recently released album, but you also get a good selection from Script too, along with an outing for the non-album song Charting The Single. It’s a good show rather than an earth shattering one, but gives a good idea of where the band was at during that particular stage of their evolution. The blu ray disc is the pick of the bunch here though. It contains two excellent documentaries, one on the making of the album itself and the other looking at the album on a track by track basis – these are both really worth watching, and shed some interesting light on the dynamics operating within the band. Alongside the now usual 5.1 mixes, there’s also video of a contemporary fifty minute concert taken from Swiss television, together with seven (audio) bonus tracks comprising various demos, alternate versions and B sides – note though that these are the same ones that appeared on the second cd of the 2008 reissue. All in all, another great package for fans, and one that concludes the Fish era reissues.
What does it all *mean*?
Along with Jethro Tull, Marillion have really set the standard for this type of reissue – here in this three cd plus bluray set there’s well thought out musical and video content, accompanied by an informative and comprehensive sixty page booklet, and the whole caboodle is served up at a very reasonable price.
Goes well with…
Scanning obituary columns in search of absent school friends.
Might suit people who like…
Fish, early period Marillion.