Where are the poets?
Absurdly enough I sold most of my vinyls in the early 90’s. I left my player at my parents house and switched to CDs. Ahh, these ugly small plastic discs with those silly small booklets. My old vinyl collection… Where did you go? How I regret it.
Luckily most of my favourite bands and artists have re-issued their discographies in very nice, however expensive, editions. For Marillion it is even better. They have by now released three out of four studio albums in very attractive vinyl boxes. Only Fugazi remain to be treated with such a nice thing. Restless I couldn’t wait, so I have bought the 2012 re-issue on 180 gram vinyl. The album is stellar, the sound quality is mostly really good, the cover is wonderful.
Of all the albums I have played the most times ever in my life time, all of Marillion’s four albums are most probably in the top 10. No doubt. I know these albums as the palm of my hand, as they say.
At live shows, Fish sometimes seems to get angry that fans want to hear the old songs. Sure, I can understand his point of view. He want to promote yet another new underwhelming solo album. But I don’t think he really understands how important these four albums have been in many fans lives. It has been the soundtrack to my life during many, many years.
So where does “Fugazi” stands among the four? Well, I think it is in a dogfight about third place. But all four are masterpieces and anyone of them can be in the lead, or be last. It depends on the mood of the day. But anyway, “Misplaced childhood” and “Script for a jester’s tear” are often in the lead in front of “Fugazi”.
Marillion always ends their albums in the moste excellent ways, placing the most impressive song last. The title track “Fugazi” is the magnum opus of theirs, and a fan favourite for the live concerts. The song is a cry for peace, Fish’s main topic when he is not writing about personal experiences or relationships. The piano intro of the song is a favourite part. It feels like home to me.
However the second song out of three on the second side of the LP may be the even better live-song. “Incubus” has the best guitars solo part of all Marillion songs and Steve Rothery is the only one that can play it up to its potential. “…just like a greasepaint mask…” – cue one of the best guitar solos in rock history. Nice nod to Pink Floyd with a copy of “The Wall” on the floor of the jester’s bedroom. “Comfortably numb” of course has the best guitar solo all time…
“She chameleon” was an old track played even before the first album “Script” was released. The old version was completely different though. I heard it on bootlegs in my youth. Here for the second studio album it got a re-work and the result is a harrowing lament. It is slow and menacing with a great synthesiser melody in the background. Mark does a great job both in the beginning and when he gets to take centre stage. New drummer Ian also shows his skills on this track.
Back on the first side of the album we get four slightly shorter songs. The first one is “Assassing”, released as a single and a song often played live. I have never been overly fond of it. Sure, it is great to jump up and down to, but it is lesser work when it comes to Marillion. For most other groups it would be the best song they’ve ever did.
“Punch and Judy” is another single, a fun romp with a great lyric. The best song on the side is lurking as number three. “Jigsaw” is marvellous. Oh, so good. Fish’s emtions runs high. Finally, the seldom played live “Emerald lies” ends the LP side.
This is a masterpiece and I know it by heart. The intricate musical jumble is forever printed in my brain.
My rating: 10/10
- Punch and Judy
- Emerald lies
- She chameleon
Best songs: “Fugazi”, “Incubus”, “She chameleon” and “Jigsaw”
Released on March 12th, 1984