Marillion – Sounds That Can't Be Made

Is this a year where the prog titans are announcing the war in tries to overtake the throne and take the title of being undisputed champions? In the year of apocalypse, is this going to be a final clash or just a try to revoke already shaken scene and get the things rolling? Speaking of progressive rock in 2012, the scene saw few returns. After long-long-anticipated Rush’s new endeavor, with the release of the second sequel of masterly Thick As A Brick, a little bit forgotten but not late Out Of The Coma by Comus, 18 years expected Anglagard’s new album and nothing less anticipated Banks of Eden by The Flower Kings, the things look already messed up.

For a middle-aged prog fan, this would probably be enough of new material for years to come. But, what happens when the bell tolls, announcing a brand new Marillion album? Although the Buckinghamshire-origined quintet was pretty consistent in terms of releasing new albums in last decade, Sounds That Can’t Be Made is a release that was approached with much more attention and prudence than any other Marillion album released in the post-2000 period. I am not trying to diminish the importance of Marbles (2004) or 2008’s Happiness is the Road, but with Sounds That Can’t Be Made the band took the years of experience and mixed it up with creativity and earnest and produced an album that may turn as their most prolific record in the new century.

Indeed, one of the most influential progressive rock bands led by guitarist Steve Rothery and charismatic Steve Hogarth took off to a journey that is more like a quest. A quest to reach something higher, unknown, maybe something that cannot be made. There is a lot of intersecting between the album’s name and its content, and with its 75 minutes Sounds That Can’t Be Made is a curriculum for only serious students. Musically, the selection of songs from this record could be explained as a mixture of distinctive Marillion elements from the past and modern understanding of progressive. As Pete Trewavas says: “The hardest part really is not to repeat yourself,” what sees the band bringing something new while still remaining traditional. From that point, the key word of this record could be – coexistence. Dynamic and contradictory at parts, Sounds That Can’t Be Made is an eclectic release that’s trying to canalize differences and polarize them.

Grandiose opener Gaza comes up as an attempt to receive and transmit simultaneously the anger and energy, while keeping the factor of emotionality high on a scale. Hogarth states: “There’s a lot of tragedy, there’s a lot of beauty too in it”, as the song flows away. For its seventeen and a half minutes, it changes its form from being ambient to metal to Marillion to Porcupine Tree to Kashmir to Marillion.

Moving down to the title track, which is rather simple and uniform after the opening piece. Pour My Love is a ballad, making you feel it’s one of those previously heard tracks with piano taking a lead and Hogarth’s soulful singing. Power is dramatically cinematic, in the way of This Train is My Life from Happiness is the Road. Montreal is the second of three over-ten minutes tunes, besides the opening Gaza and closing The Sky Above the Rain. It’s more down to the ground, easy flowing, easy listening song with crescendos and decrescendos filling the atmosphere.

Invisible Ink is the most poprock-oriented track in a conventional way, while following Lucky Man sets up to rockier vibe. The album finishes with mentioned The Sky Above the Rain, with Hogarth singing “…but he wants so much, not to live another lie, to be free and high again…,” putting an end to the recollected images of many.

At the end, to summarize I quote Mark Kelly, who says: “I think in some way it’s quite challenging musically and lyrically, but also I think that definitely we’ve been doing something we haven’t done before.

Tracklist:

1. Gaza
2. Sounds That Can’t Be Made
3. Pour My Love
4. Power
5. Montreal
6. Invisible Ink
7. Lucky Man
8. The Sky above the Rain

Line-up:

* Steve Hogarth – singer, backing vocals, keys, percussion
* Mark Kelly – keyboards
* Pete Trewavas – bass guitar, backing vocals
* Steve Rothery – lead & rhythm guitars
* Ian Mosley – drums

Links:

http://www.marillion.com/

Nikola Savić is a prog enthusiast, blogger and author, in addition to being the founder of Prog Sphere, Progify, ProgLyrics and the ongoing Progstravaganza compilation series.

1 Comment

  1. todd cadle

    October 3, 2012 at 5:52 am

    thanks for such a review, I think the band really pushed themselves
    for this one and the mix was amazing. Got to give it to these old rockers
    never to late to make something meaningful.
    Thanks again
    Todd Orlando

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