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Marillion - Somewhere Else

Marillion, Somewhere Else

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2.5 out of 5

ACCORDING to their PR, Marillion are one of the UK music scene’s “best kept secrets”, not to mention “purveyors of soulful, powerful and often deeply moving music”.

It’s a claim that’s hard to justify on the evidence of current album Somewhere Else, their 14th studio offering.

Musically accomplished, for sure, the album is also fairly bland. It may hold some appeal for fans of acts such as Embrace or even Crowded House but for all its endeavour, Somewhere Else lacks any real spark.

Marillion are, of course, probably still best known for their ’80s hit Kayleigh when Fish was their lead singer.

But he left the band in 1988 after four albums and was replaced by Steve Hogarth who helped to redefine the Marillion sound with the help of long-term band members Steve Rothery (guitar), Mark Kelly (keyboards), Pete Trewavas (bass) and Ian Mosley (drums).

They even launched their own record company, marillion.com, in 1999, taking away any of the pressure of record companies.

Unfortunately, Somewhere Else isn’t the LP that’s going to catapult them to the global spotlight. It’s a lightweight offering that offers only the odd rousing moment.

Most Toys is an example of the sort of recording it could have used more of – it’s loud, vibrant and gutsily delivered. Hogarth’s vocals retain a Neil Finn quality that’s appealing, while Rothery’s guitars add plenty of fire to the mix.

But too often the LP falls back on piano melodies that do little to really inspire. Thank You, Whoever You Are and Somewhere Else are two such examples of tracks that don’t really go anywhere. They’re full of aching sentiment but they just don’t grab you in the same way that the finest work of Embrace or Thirteen Senses does.

While an attempt to get political emerges as more pretentious than hard-hitting on The Last Century For Man – a ponderous assault on America, the UK, the rich and the gas guzzling. There’s a knowing sense of irony in the “God bless America chorus” but the song could do with being a great deal angrier.

Somewhere Else is therefore a disappointing listen that promises more than it ultimately delivers.

Track listing:

  1. The Other Half
  2. See It Like A Baby
  3. Thank You, Whoever You Are
  4. Most Toys
  5. Somewhere Else
  6. Voice From The Past
  7. No Such Thing
  8. The Wound
  9. The Last Century For Man
  10. Faith