Our first Album Of The Week comes in the form of a prog-rock masterpiece and one that is rather close to my heart. Marillion's seminal 1985 concept album, Misplaced Childhood has been a mainstay in my life for many years now and it's one I still go back and listen to rather frequently. Moreover, I've had the pleasure of seeing FISH perform it in its entirety back in April 2016 which proved to be a rather surreal experience.
It's a record that I've loved from the moment I first heard it and one I would strongly encourage you to listen to you if you're a fan of storytelling, poetic lyrics and tremendous instrumental work. Whilst it may be dark in places and that's reflected in the rest of Marillion's work of this period, the album goes from strength to strength with every track. It tells a story loosely based on lead singer FISH's childhood and was influenced by a trip he had whilst under the influence of acid. Some tracks entwine personal references such as Heart Of Lothian and its line 'And anarchy smiles on the Royal Mile" . These refer to the region of Scotland where FISH hails from - Midlothian - and also a possible reference to the mosaic heart in the pavement of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.
FISH's lyrical brilliance is heard in spades and this album features some of his best songwriting. Particular highlights include Blue Angel, the middle part of Bitter Suite, with its clever symbolism and Childhood's End for its personal references to FISH and direct address that clasps around the hearts of the listeners. In addition, a final highlight is the ending track White Feather. Despite its short length by comparison to some of the album, FISH ekes out his heart and soul both in terms of the vocal and the lyrics too, expressing his own freewill and lack of allegiance to nations. In White Feather and the rest of the album, there's this concurrent theme of the heart and its emblematic nature allows pure passions to seep through the lyrical genius of the Scotsman.
Much like the two records that preceded Misplaced Childhood, the instrumentals are second-to-none and in particular, Steve Rothery's guitar work is excellent. The solo on Kayleigh and the dark undertones during Bitter Suite help to shape and craft something truly perfect. It's one that is really worth a listen for those just getting into progressive rock but has more of an artsy feel to it. Even if you're looking for something new and different, you cannot have a better starting point than this.
If you want to pick up a copy, I’ll leave an Amazon link here: https://amzn.to/2P5VOPj
Or, if you’d prefer, here’s a Spotify link:
More musical magnificence to come next week!
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