Marillion - 'Sounds That Can't Be Made' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     October 29, 2012    
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Shockingly good.

2012 has been a ridiculously fertile year for UK progressive music, with from the top of my head, stunning releases from Galahad, It Bites, Threshold, DeeExpus, Hogarth|Barbieri, The Pineapple Thief and many more. Well, add to the list those veterans of the UK progressive scene Marillion, who have released another stunning, beautiful album that also packs a few surprises. None more so than the uncompromising, seventeen minute opening track ‘Gaza’, which is fresh and challenging, finding singer Steve Hogarth being more pointed, political and scathingly blatant than before, while guitarist Steve Rothery riffs and stabs with more ferocity than I can remember. This song is a defining statement from the band, being something genuinely game changing from them, while still somehow sounding like Marillion - deep, dark, heavy, abrasive. This is Marillion pointing in your face, shouting with such force that they’ll make you flinch and exercising your brain in a way that will make it throb with pleasuring pain. Stunning stuff, although if I was to have one complaint, placing it as the opening track leaves an awful lot for the other seven tracks to live up to, which they do, but only after giving an investment of your time.

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Following a more similar path to the band’s recent material, ‘Montreal’ shines and shimmers as it evokes images of a city that Marillion are growing strong links with through their now legendary “weekends”. The slow steady build reeling you in with dreamy determination. However the more resilient stomp of the title track, while still relying on Mark Kelly’s ghost like keyboards and Rothery’s punctuating melodies, adds a new dimension through a surprisingly uncomplicated beat. Possibly taking inspiration from his side project with Porcupine Tree’s Richard Barbieri, Hogarth talks his way through much of the enigmatic ‘Power’ adding even more atmosphere to a song that builds and grows in only the way Marillion know how. Although ‘Pour My Love’ does fall into the trap of being Marillion by numbers - a fate that ‘Invisible Ink’ also flirts with, being saved by Pete Trewavas’s throbbing bass lines and Ian Mosely’s confident and ever shifting beats. That’s not to say that either of these songs are bad, but compared with some of their album mates, they just sound slightly safe and expected. ‘Lucky Man’ on the other hand swoops and soars, with Hogarth, Rothery and Kelly once again in complete control, creating layers and layers of sounds to lose yourself in, especially when the sumptuous guitar solo is peeled off in sublime style. Leaving ‘The Sky Above The Rain’ to end, finishes the journey through ‘Sounds That Can’t Be Made’ in fantastic, refrained style, where guitars and percussion once again create a thrilling climax.

Shockingly good and different in places, ‘Sounds That Can’t Be Made’ illustrates that Marillion are a band still growing and expanding what they are capable of delivering. Captivating and thrilling as they do so.

Steven Reid

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