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Thread: FEATURED CD : Marillion : Sounds That Can't Be Made

  1. #1
    Moderator Duncan Glenday's Avatar
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    FEATURED CD : Marillion : Sounds That Can't Be Made



    The English band Marillion just keeps plugging along. Guitarist Steve Rothery, keyboardist Mark Kelly, bassist Pete Trewavas, drummer Ian Mosley, and vocalist and jack of all trades Steve Hogarth are back with their seventeenth studio album, Sounds That Can't Be Made, the subject of which I discussed with Hogarth on this site a few weeks ago. (To watch the entire video interview, click here.)

    Sounds was finished at Real World Studios, and Kelly has remarked that working there let the band regroup and gave them a fresh perspective. The eight-song album debuted at number 43 on the British album chart.

    I've listened to the album about 20 times now and here's my review. In short, fans will not be disappointed. Sounds is a melodic and challenging album worth seeking out, the band's most complete effort since 2004's Marbles.

    The first track, "Gaza," is a layered and ambitious 17-minute song with many stops and starts. The subject is equally ambitious: in the Middle East. It's no surprise that the song has engendered quite a bit of controversy. In expectation of this maelstrom, the band included an explanation of the song's intent next to the lyrics. Rothery has called "Gaza" the most important track the band has ever written. In Hogarth's words, "Temporary for over 50 years now, Gaza is today, effectively, a city imprisoned without trial."

    The haunting title track, "Sounds That Can't Be Made" features one of the album's high points: Rothery's emotive guitar solo. It sends chills down my spine. "Pour My Love" is originally based upon based a John Helmer lyric from the band's Holidays in Eden era. The song has a classic Marillion feel, espeically with Rothery's rhythm guitar.

    "Power" begins with a grooving bass lines by Trewavas and has really grown on me. The lyrics to the slow, epic, and powerful "Montreal" come right out of Hogarth's diary. "Invisible Ink" offers some beautiful introductory chords by Kelly before morphing into a more of a traditional rock-and-roll song. The simple lyrics of "Lucky Man" underlie incredibly moving music. (The song is my personal favorite of this album.) Musically, it evokes images of "The Last Century for Man" from the band's 2007 album Somewhere Else.

    "The Sky Above The Rain" again features melodic chords and notes by Kelly. In the song, Hogarth tells the personal story of a complex relationship with an ultimate message of hope.

    At a high level, there's plenty in Sounds to keep traditional Marillion fans happy. At the same time, though, lyrically and musically the band continues to evolve.

    Rating: 5/5 stars.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/phil-s...b_1942611.html



    Regards,

    Duncan

  2. #2
    Liked it a lot when I first got it. In my typical style, I listened to it a bunch of times and then put it away for a month. Just listened to it again on Thursday and now I think it's fantastic. Nothing as good as my favorite moments of Marbles, but overall I think it's a better album than Marbles. There's nothing on it that I don't like. ...EXCEPT...Rothery is STILL using that Goddamn leslie/chorus effect. It seems that he uses it as a way to not write something interesting. It started with This is the 21st Century and was at its worst all over Happiness. He only uses it on a couple songs on Sounds, but one in particular (I can't think of which song) is just a few minutes of aimless noodling. If it wasn't for the effect it would sound like it was played by someone who didn't play guitar. I guess it's supposed to be atmospheric? He used to write really interesting, concise and powerful rhythm parts and solos that tore your heart out. I get that he wants to explore new territory, but I can't support him on this particular sonic journey. Next time they record someone needs to slap his hand when he reaches for that effect and say, "NO! WRITE SOMETHING."

  3. #3
    Progstreaming-webmaster Sunhillow's Avatar
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    I've got some troubles with parts of the lyrics of 'Gaza', but I still think it's a great song. If Marillion were a Dutch band, Steve H would be a regular table-guest at DWDD and the whole band would regularly feature in VPRO/VARA-broadcasts. Ok, that's an inside-joke for the Dutch among us They're a bit what we would call 'political correct'.

    I especially have troubles with this part:

    You sow the wind, you reap the whirlwind, it is said
    When people know they have no future
    Can we blame them if we cannot tame them?
    And when their hopes and dreams are broken
    And they feel they might as well be dead
    As they go, will we forgive them
    If they take us with them?

    So, often I play this record starting track 2. Then I enjoy it

  4. #4
    I totally get what upsets people about the lyrics in Gaza. Without choosing sides, I think they're amazing and offer a great perspective on the situation. Every so often, Hogarth comes up with an absolutely devastating line or two of lyrics and I think he's done that a few times in this tune. I think that the part that is quoted below is just an amazing way to say what he had to say.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sunhillow View Post
    I especially have troubles with this part:

    You sow the wind, you reap the whirlwind, it is said
    When people know they have no future
    Can we blame them if we cannot tame them?
    And when their hopes and dreams are broken
    And they feel they might as well be dead
    As they go, will we forgive them
    If they take us with them?

    So, often I play this record starting track 2. Then I enjoy it

  5. #5
    Member since March 2004 mozo-pg's Avatar
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    Too much discussion on Gaza will invariable turn this into a political pissing match. I'll just say that I don't have a problem with a single line of the lyrics. The original post rated this album 5/5 but I'd give it 3.25/5. Best songs, Gaza and Montreal but the rest of average or dispossible.
    Last edited by mozo-pg; 12-23-2012 at 02:04 PM.

  6. #6
    It's an album I don't feel will ever grow on me. Gaza just lacks something despite the good intention. Sounds like a medley of tunes from Fish's Sunsets On Empire with h improvising over the top. Comes across like someone doing a song about the 1984 Ethiopian famine as if no-one ever heard the Band Aid record.

  7. #7
    Insect Overlord Progatron's Avatar
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    LOVE "Gaza" and "Montreal", like "Lucky Man", "Power" and "Pour My Love" a lot. Lukewarm on "Invisible Ink" and simply can't get into "The Sky Above The Rain" at all.

    I mentioned on PE 2.0 that "The Sky..." is the "Fantastic Place" track for me on this album. The one everyone seems to emotionally connect with, and will cry when they see it live, but leaves me baffled and scratching my head wondering what I'm missing. I've given it plenty of chances. Maybe one day.

    Anyway, it's overall a very, very good album and I can't wait to see it live in Montreal next March!
    Interviewer of reprobate ne'er-do-well musicians of the long-haired rock n' roll persuasion at: www.velvetthunder.co.uk

  8. #8
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas View Post
    It's an album I don't feel will ever grow on me. Gaza just lacks something despite the good intention. Sounds like a medley of tunes from Fish's Sunsets On Empire with h improvising over the top. Comes across like someone doing a song about the 1984 Ethiopian famine as if no-one ever heard the Band Aid record.
    The Marillion Christmas DVD for 2012 includes video from the London Forum of the band doing Gaza and it's excellent - you might want to check out a live version of Gaza - it might change your impression of the album version.

  9. #9
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Progatron View Post
    LOVE "Gaza" and "Montreal", like "Lucky Man", "Power" and "Pour My Love" a lot. Lukewarm on "Invisible Ink" and simply can't get into "The Sky Above The Rain" at all.

    I mentioned on PE 2.0 that "The Sky..." is the "Fantastic Place" track for me on this album. The one everyone seems to emotionally connect with, and will cry when they see it live, but leaves me baffled and scratching my head wondering what I'm missing. I've given it plenty of chances. Maybe one day.

    Anyway, it's overall a very, very good album and I can't wait to see it live in Montreal next March!
    I felt the same way about Fantastic Place for a LONG time. Not so much that I couldn't connect with the lyrics (that's rarely crucial to me), but the music just didn't grab me. It's still not a favorite, but I like it now.

    With Sky... I love it. I don't really care that much about the lyrics (some people seemed to have a problem with it because the "couple" in the song are having difficulties), but the big break with the words "Maybe they'll talk..." is very triumphant and classic Marillion, IMO.

    My prediction is that this song will grow on most people who are having trouble with it.

  10. #10
    Brilliant album. I think Marbles and Somewhere Else are still better (IMHO), but some absolutely brilliant moments. My favorite is the title track, but "Gaza", "Sky Above The Rain" are brilliant. "Lucky Man" and "Pour My Love" still don't land with me, though.

  11. #11
    Member bill g's Avatar
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    Haven't heard a Marillion album in many years. The last one was the one that had a song I really liked, 'Welcome To The 21st century' or something. I don't know I guess there is so much to listen to, can't get around to it all. I'm glad I could hear these 2 youtube offerings. Like most Marillion I like them, but don't love them like I do a lot of other music. 'Power' has a good feel. 'Gaza' is quite good, a lot to offer, good contrasts. Both songs are nicely moody, but obviously there is more to offer with 'Gaza', with the instrumental sections and such. After the 10 minute mark is especially nice. Then around the 12 minute mark it reminds me of Blue Nile. I remember now that I like Hogarth's voice quite a bit. I think I'll seek out other songs from this album, maybe even buy the album, or at least some downloads.

  12. #12
    Geriatric Anomaly progeezer's Avatar
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    The first Marillion album since Marbles that I loved at first listen. "Happiness 1 & 2" grew on me & I like it a lot now but not right away. "Somewhere Else" is a meh album for me.

    I'm a Jew, and I have absolutely no problems with Gaza lyrically. Unless you're a rabid Zionist free of all objectivity (and perhaps knowledge) about what actually is and has been happening there, imho you shouldn't either.

    We now return you to our featured cd thread.
    "My choice early in life was either to be a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician, and to tell the truth, there's hardly any difference"

    President Harry S. Truman

  13. #13
    Member PotatoSolution's Avatar
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    It's not the politics of the "Gaza" lyrics that annoy me, it's the sledgehammer-ness of them. I have the same problem with "Montreal" (someone on here wrote that "Montreal" seems like an entry from h's blog set to music, now I can't hear the song without thinking of that).

    I prefer when the lyrical focus is more ambiguous and poetic, such as "Afraid of Sunlight".

    I'm sure STCBM will grow on me, like all Marillion albums do, but it certainly wouldn't make my top 5 Marillion (maybe not even my top 10).

  14. #14
    In the latest Prog magazine Steve Wilson says its his favourite Prog album of the year & as good as anything they've ever done!
    PE 's Sean also gets to review his Prog collection !

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Sunhillow View Post
    I especially have troubles with this part:

    You sow the wind, you reap the whirlwind, it is said
    When people know they have no future
    Can we blame them if we cannot tame them?
    And when their hopes and dreams are broken
    And they feel they might as well be dead
    As they go, will we forgive them
    If they take us with them?
    I'm with ete on this. The entire set of lyrics is exceptionally well-done, a perfect job of tackling a thorny subject (and a lot of its implications) honestly and unflinchingly without preaching or taking sides. That specific verse is a particularly difficult aspect of the thing to confront, but the song does so admirably. Consider the note from the CD booklet:

    nothing here is intended to show sympathy for acts of violence, whatever the motivation, but simply to ponder upon where desperation inevitably leads.
    It's a discomforting situation without any good answers, so of course any piece of art that examines it will be discomforting to take in, but I think that only makes the effort all the more worthwhile.

    Quote Originally Posted by PotatoSolution View Post
    It's not the politics of the "Gaza" lyrics that annoy me, it's the sledgehammer-ness of them. ... I prefer when the lyrical focus is more ambiguous and poetic
    I usually do too, but I think this is one case where the bluntness is entirely appropriate.

  16. #16
    While I think Gazza is a great song, the rest of the album doesn't do to much for me. I like eclectic sounding albums which is why I really like Marbles and TSE. To me there's nothing new here from Marillion. Power sounds like a 2nd rate 21st Century, Montreal just wonders along and would do much better with different lyrics, Lucky Man is just a bad rock song in my opinion slightly better then Most Toys, I rarely listen to Invisible Ink, Sky Above the Rain is OK but it doesn't really go anywhere musically. The only other track that is different then what they've really done before is the title track which sort of reminds me of the Duran Duran tune Skin Trade. Especially the keyboard rhythmic stabs in the verses. The last section of this song is probably one of Marillions most beautiful moments. Over all, not bad, I rate it higher then Happiness is the Road and possibly just higher then Radiation, and they're two of my lowest ranking.
    All of course IMHO.

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  17. #17
    Member batbold's Avatar
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    It took a while for the album to grow on me. However Gaza grabbed me right away. It reminds me of The Invisible Man or This Strange Engine, being that it is more a collage of ideas and sounds rather than being a song in the traditional sense. That being said, with repeated listens I have found this to be a very enjoyable release. Marillion tends to go back and forth between being a straight ahead soft rock band and a neo-prog band. Lyrically, they are much more interesting than your average soft rock group. I'm glad this is a more focused release than Happiness is the Road. Great performances by Mr. h, Mr. Trewavas, and Mr. Mosely.
    "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."--Theodore Roosevelt

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post
    The Marillion Christmas DVD for 2012 includes video from the London Forum of the band doing Gaza and it's excellent - you might want to check out a live version of Gaza - it might change your impression of the album version.
    I played the album again yesterday. Gaza has a formulae I can't entirely grasp so not sure whether the live versions would help me lock into it especially as I have no resources outside my local library to hear streamed music. Power is growing on me though

  19. #19
    Member ItalProgRules's Avatar
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    All I've heard is "Gaza" (PROG Mag sampler) which I really, really liked. Thinking of picking this album up.
    High Vibration Go On - R.I.P. Chris Squire

  20. #20
    Completely omitted from Progarchives top 100 of 2012. Seriously? You should see some of the mutts that did make it over STCBM.

  21. #21
    Tortured my family on the drive to MI with this one... I myself like it, but I think the band takes too long to make their point on most of the album. FI, Pour My Love is a nice little tune, but it keeps repeating... for 6 minutes. Wouldn't be as effective in 3? Montreal approaches epic, but oh how it d-r-a-g-s in parts. Invisible Ink is another great little song, but it takes literally 1:30 before _anything_ of note really happens. Lucky Man - great song, but again, does it need to be 7 minutes long? Last song is the only real stinker for me, always skip it.

    Sorry, my two cents (maybe not worth that)
    "Always ready with the ray of sunshine"

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by strawberrybrick View Post
    Tortured my family on the drive to MI with this one... I myself like it, but I think the band takes too long to make their point on most of the album. FI, Pour My Love is a nice little tune, but it keeps repeating... for 6 minutes. Wouldn't be as effective in 3? Montreal approaches epic, but oh how it d-r-a-g-s in parts. Invisible Ink is another great little song, but it takes literally 1:30 before _anything_ of note really happens. Lucky Man - great song, but again, does it need to be 7 minutes long? Last song is the only real stinker for me, always skip it.

    Sorry, my two cents (maybe not worth that)
    As I said in a Kate Bush thread there seems to be a lack of self edit in today's artists once they have more freedom in releasing material. That's why record labels and producers are a necessary evil. Marillion wouldn't have had a fan base had they released The Web in its original guise as Close. Kate Bush in the modern day sounds like The Cathy Demos from 1976 rather than the singer/songwriter/dancer of 1978-82.

  23. #23
    Jon Neudorf
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    Well, "Sounds" made it into my top 20 of 2012. I found this to be a real grower. Initially it didn't bull me over but the subtle nuance this album offers eventually won me over. For me, "Lucky Man" is worth the price of admission alone.

    Is the CD too long? Yeah, probably, but this is still top shelf material.

    Regards,
    Jon

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by strawberrybrick View Post
    Pour My Love is a nice little tune, but it keeps repeating... for 6 minutes. Wouldn't be as effective in 3?
    No, it wouldn't. It's got those couple necessary verses and choruses, plus that lovely bridge to provide a major counterpart to the rest which is generally bittersweet... maybe it didn't need to be quite as long as it is, but three minutes? I think cutting it that short would be too short for its parts to really work together.

  25. #25
    The only song I don't much care for is "Montreal", which I imagine is hard to get much from lyrically unless you happen to have been to one of those conventions...
    I adore "The Sky Above The Rain", and find it incredibly beautiful and meaningful - but the last few minutes diminish it's impact. I wish they'd found a more concise way to bring the song to a more natural conclusion. But the first six minutes or so is just sublime. Definitely one of the albums that's given me most satisfaction this year. Don't give a toss what anyone else thinks to the contrary. :-)

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