Reviewed by Marc on 17 May 2004
I'm probably a rare animal out there because I prefer the Hogarth era Marillion to the Fish led incantation of the band. So I was very anxious to hear the band's new CD that they had been working on for the last two and a half years and I have now listened to it quite a few times.
To date I have enjoyed every Marillion albums (my least favorite being Holidays in Eden
occupying a place on my Desert Island List) and the streak goes on, Marbles
being a very good one, IMO in the better half of the Marillion albums. You will find on it a collection of shorter/poppier tracks that Marillion do very well, and a number of multi segment longer pieces that should interest more the prog fans of the band. Marbles
does have weaknesses though. The transitions between the segments in the longer tracks are not very good. It does feel like distinct tracks pieced together just for the sake of making a longer one. Hogarth's singing has also been better. His prononciation has never been his forte, but at moments he now sounds like he is suffering from an extreme hangover. His voice also sounds like it has suffered some excesses through the years, although he is still able to put out a lot of emotion when required. Some of the music also reminds me a lot of music found on preceding albums, not to a point of putting me off, but sometimes they come close. The second CD is nice enough but weaker then the first
So, all in all, a good and very polished album from a group of talented musicians. Not quite up to the expectations I had, but still recommended.
Now a few months later I must admit that the album has grown on me (mostly the first CD) and I now condider it the second best ever Marillion album, just after Brave.