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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Marillion

Radiation

Review by Gary Hill

Radiation is an album that shows a band stretching so far from their origins that they are essentially redefining themselves. Since it is such a departure, it takes a couple listenings for the the fan to be become comfortable with this sound. The musical experience is well worth this added effort, though.

Marillion is Steve Hogarth, Steve Rothery, Mark Kelly, Pete Trewavas and Ian Mosley.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Costa Del Slough
Really part one of Under The Sun, this piece features an odd intro that gives way to a song based on old Blues modes. Lyrically, this is a darkly humorous take on environmental issues. "The hole in the ozone layer is alright by me, Makes England warmer in the summer, Them tropical guys had it too good for too long."
Under The Sun
A strong rocker with U2 leanings, this cut really explodes. The piece also seems to suggest the rockier side of Pink Floyd at times.
The Answering Machine
This energetic rocker features `70`s retro sorts of stylings and strong prog leanings. The ending moments of the piece have a Hawkwindish texture.
Three Minute Boy
A pretty piano and vocal based cut (in the beginning), this one is rather reminiscent of h`s Ice Cream Genius album. Those segments of the cut have quite a haunting and emotional texture. "A three minute song is all he wrote, he only did it for a joke, They played it on the radio, From Tokyo to Timbuktu." Heavier elements take over the track for a time, transforming it into a very strong rock and roller during those times. The number seems to be one part Genesis, one part Beatles one part basic rock and roll.
Now She'll Never Know
This is a pretty rock ballad, again calling to mind the Genius album a bit.
These Chains
Beatles influenced, this rock ballad is a very pretty and powerful piece. "These chains are all your own, These chains are comfortable, The cage was never locked, Born free but scared to be."
Born To Run
Born to Run is a bluesy groove with slight Pink Floyd tendencies.
Cathedral Wall
A strong prog rock track, this one features influences of Yes, Floyd, Genesis and others. An invigorating cut, it includes a brief reprise of These Chains.
A Few Words For The Dead
Beginning in a Hawkwindish mode, Native American tones come in after a time. The early vocal moments of the main song are quite textural. The progish intensity builds eventually, while still pulling in elements from earlier sections of the track. Towards the end, the piece breaks into a more traditional and triumphant format, slightly in a Yesish vein. This cut is over 10 minutes long.
Estonia (Acoustic Studio Version)(Bonus Track)
This pretty acoustic ballad is somewhat sparsely arranged, but the artistic use of piano really adds much to the piece.
Memory Of Water (Big Beat Mix) (Bonus Track)
A solid Marillion work with a strongly funky bass line, this cut really rocks.
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