Title: Sounds That Can Be Made
Release Date: 14th September 2012
Label: earMusic (Edel)
Until a couple of years, MARILLION was to me a boring progressive band from the late 70's... until 2004 when I came to listen to the album ‘Marbles’. I discovered then a powerful pop rock band that reminded me much more of RADIOHEAD, TEARS FOR FEARS, U2 or COLDPLAY. Oh, of course, there is a strong connection to progressive with crystal sounding guitars, some 15 minutes songs and so on... but the band could appeal to the masses if they had some more promotion, and most of all, if journalists did the same effort I did just to listen to one of their post 1988 albums. Having said that, the band seems more than happy in their own little world and do have a significant and massive fan base that allow them to continue producing the music they like, whenever they like... and considering the growing size of the venues they are performing in since 10 years, it seems that words to mouth really works in their case.
Late 2012, they released their 16th album (or so), ‘Sounds That Can Be Made’... and this is a masterpiece. The album is starting with the 17 minutes piece of music named ‘Gaza’... a song that had created much controversy even amongst their fans. This is not a political song about the situation there... just the point of view of a kid raised in ‘Gaza’. But whatever you may think of what's happening there, the song is brilliant... and obviously with its length explores multiple atmospheres. From a very ‘Page/Plant’ beginning (e.g. ‘No Quarter’ mixing orchestral and loud guitars), to heavy dark rock or more atmospheric bits. ‘Sounds That Can Be Made’ follows with more keyboards driven sounds. Steve Hogarth once again shows how beautiful his voice is... probably one of the most beautiful voice in pop music... and of course, underrated by medias.
Very melancholic mood on a mid tempo but heavy beat. ‘Pour My Love’ is a typical MARILLION ballad with crystal sounding guitars. The band's maturity can be heard through every second of the album and this song clearly demonstrates it. We can feel a band in peace with himself and his career. ‘Power’, the first song that has been used for promo, is bass and keyboards driven, a very lyrical chorus that could be a great hit on mainstreams network. ‘Montreal’ is the 2nd long piece of the album, 14 minutes. Beautiful melody, voice at the top of Steve's art. ‘Invisible Link’, one of my favourite song of the album, is very ‘Beatles’ influenced, a strong potential hit single. ‘Lucky Man’ is a typical MARILLION song, reminding of ‘Marillion.com’ or ‘Araknophobia’ albums, led by Rothery's guitar.
The album ends with another long piece, 10mn30, probably one of the most beautiful song MARILLION have ever released. ‘The Sky Above The Rain’ is love song telling the story of a wife who is not sexually attracted anymore by her husband but still in love with him. Voice of Hogarth is charged with emotion. Hopefully the songs ends up with a more optimistic feel. To sum it up... this album not only can please fans of the band (and it seems it's already considered as one of the best album of MARILLION) but anyone into pop / rock / lyrical music. On top of that, all the fans that have purchased the album during their pre-ordering campaign, saw their album coming in a beautiful box, with a 128 pages book made of illustrations for each songs by multiple artists and a Making Of DVD including some in studio live performances of some songs.
I would recommend anyone to rush on to their website and explore the immense diversity of their catalogue, the band having understand long time before anyone that the key today for an independent act is to offer a wide range of choice between Live albums, DVDs, Unreleased materials, special event for fans (their MARILLION weekends are cult)
02. Sounds That Can Be Made
03. Pour My Love
06. Invisible Link
07. Lucky Man
08. The Sky Above The Rain
BONUS: DVD + 128 pages book
Steve ‘H’ Hogarth – Vocals, Keyboards
Mark Kelly – Keyboards
Pete Trewavas – Bass
Steve Rothery – Guitars
Ian Mosley – Drums
Total: 9.5 / 10