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Marillion - Clutching At Straws CD (album) cover





4.14 | 1229 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
5 stars After the huge success of their previous album "Misplaced Childhood" the band MARILLION decided to have another go at a concept album in the form of CLUTCHING AT STRAWS. This is a tale of an unemployed loser by the name of Torch who has the unfortunate luck to be bad at everything he attempts including being a good husband, father and singer in a band. His downward spiral only continues as he drowns his sorrows in alcohol. MARILLION had a way of keeping the progressive side of music firmly embedded within the human experience which is a breath of fresh air in a genre that relishes in alienation and mental escape into the realms of fantasy, the extraterrestrial and interdimensional.

The theme and concepts that revolve around the human story of a working class bloke who fails to keep his life from becoming shambles is a successful formula which in my opinion opened up the possibilities of progressive music to a wider audience who eschewed the strange and freaked-out musical world that had its reign the previous decade. Sadly the touring schedule burned out the band which proved too much for lead singer Fish who would depart after this album in order to pursue a solo career. The album is also different than the last in the fact that unlike "Misplaced Childhood" where the tracks smoothly blended into one another, on CLUTCHING the songs are distinct and take the listener on a roller coaster ride of hooks, riffs and tempos.

For me it's a clean sweep of 5 star albums for Fish-era MARILLION. These four albums represent a cornerstone in the history of progressive rock. Although I would hardly count them as the most progressive and complex that the genre has to offer or even the most original since the Genesis influence is so obvious, that doesn't seem to be the point. They are simply put, a renaissance of melodic and dramatic representations of the human condition and the new bearers of a torch that had been abandoned by money hungry bands tempted by the pop side. Although the neo-prog sound would carry on as would the band itself, I am hard pressed to find anything that equals the melancholic beauty and emotional depth that these first four albums present.

siLLy puPPy | 5/5 |


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