British prog-rock band Marillion has been making music for the better part of three decades. In that time, the band has managed to remain largely successful without much (if any) help from mainstream radio and television. Now, Marillion has shown yet again why it is still one of the music industry’s best (largely) unknown acts with its newest release, Sounds That Can’t Be Made.The title of this new album is fitting in that while the eight tracks that comprise the album’s playlist aren’t sounds that can’t be made. They are sounds that few other bands would even think to make. The album’s opener, ‘Gaza’ is in itself a very deep and provocative piece. It’s a multi movement piece that makes commentary on the state of the Gaza strip. Front man Steve Hogarth sings in this song, “For thirteen years/The roads have all been closed/We’re isolated/We’re denied medical supplies/Fuel and work are scarce/They build houses on our farms/The old men weep/The young men take up arms.” Those last two lines, “The old men weep/The young men take up arms” is such a powerful visual. It’s no chore to see the juxtaposition of the two. These lines are just a tiny piece of what makes this such a powerful opening to the band’s new album. Backed by equally emotional music, there’s no doubt that this will easily become a favorite of every Marillion fan. It’s just one of the high points of this underrated work.
Another song that fans will appreciate is the almost equally long, ‘Montreal.’ This piece is said to have come from Steve Hogarth’s own personal experience while on tour. Countless songs have been written over the decades about life on tour. And they all generally have a very similar sound about them. But that’s not necessarily the case with ‘Montreal.’ There’s a very old school prog-rock influence here as Hogarth sings about the band making a stopover in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. There’s no vibe of life on the road being miserable, etc. etc. Rather it’s lyrically very mundane. Yet with the musical backing, the band has once again crafted a piece that’s so powerful. Listeners can sense at least a longing for home as Hogarth sings of staying in touch with his wife via Skype, after having landed at the nearest airport and making its way to its hotel. It comes together for yet another impressive piece of this musical puzzle. It all makes the near fourteen minute run time entirely worth it.
Both ‘Gaza’ and ‘Montreal’ are powerful pieces thanks to the bands ability to translate its music and lyrics together so seamlessly and effortlessly to its audiences. There’s one more piece here that audiences will appreciate though, for its musical and lyrical power. That song is the album’s penultimate piece, ‘Lucky Man.’ Again, that combination of music and lyrics makes this a hard hitting piece. Hogarth sings, “Some of us want diamonds and gold and trinkets/The perfect body/And the perfect skin/Witnesses to their good deeds/Willing accomplices to their sin/Some of us pray for absolution/Some want sex/And call it love/But freedom to cheat /Is not something I want tonight.” What audiences get here is another socially conscious song that given the proper attention will really get listeners to think without being preachy. This is what so many bands get wrong, but Marillion has gotten right. ‘Lucky Man’ tries to lead by example. It in its own way, tries to get listeners to think before they complain about having life so bad and being content with what they have. It’s little things like this that have made Marillion such a successful band for three decades. And it’s little things like this that will continue to make the band a success as long as its members agree they want to continue making music.
Sounds That Can’t Be Made is available in stores and online now. It can be ordered online via Eagle Rock Entertainment’s website, http://www.eagle-rock.com. The band is currently touring in support of its new album. It will be in Sao Paulo, Brazil tomorrow as part of its tour of South America and Mexico. Fans can get a full listing of tour dates online at http://www.marillion.com/tour, and http://www.facebook.com/MarillionOfficial.
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