• Marillion Acoustic Album Less Is More

    1 Oct 2009, 22:39 by IM7070

    As I've pre-ordered Less Is More (and it's in the postal system as I type!), I've this evening been able to download the MP3s of the tracks from the Marillion website. I just want to express my enjoyment of this album just on one listen! The selection of songs is pretty broadly spread across the past 20 years' worth of material, some of the acoustic versions are still close to the original studio recordings, some are pretty radically different; the strength of melody of the songs really shines through, and having just reached it - the 'hidden track' is a great one to end on :-)) Suffice to say that there is a completely new song in there It's Not Your Fault and some of these new versions are exquisitely beautiful, Go (originally on being a prime example.

    Happily listening again now - perfect for the later end of the day. Highly recommended!
  • Marillion - Happiness Is The Road

    25 Nov 2008, 20:36 by IM7070

    Marillion have a new album out, called Happiness Is The Road, it comprises two discs, Essence and The Hard Shoulder. I have had this album one way or another now for a little while, and I've been wanting to write a review, but it's hard to write something about an album that is so much more 'feel' than touch - this thing has so much soul in disc 1 (Essence) that it's practically transcendent. This is easily the most spiritual collection of songs that they have come up with to date, and this even spills over into disc 2 (The Hard Shoulder). Essence is a journey of sorts, literally where This Train Is My Life is concerned, a song which any regular express train traveller can start to identify with as anonymous stations fly past, but here is something more as it speaks of the touring and fleeting glimpses of reality in the places travelled through. Life passes by too in Wrapped Up In Time, a song about lost loved ones whose echo remains but whose time is past. Liquidity is a rare instrumental outing which provides an atmospheric buffer between Wrapped Up and it's euphoric antidote Woke Up - an even rarer occurrence as it is an unashamedly happy and uplifting song, to be blasted out of the car at any given opportunity. The album's title track Happines Is The Road explains the loose concept of the disc, as singer and lyricist Steve Hogarth was prescribed the book The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle to help him overcome a number of outstanding problems that were dragging him down. This whole album is an apparent testament to it's efficacy, and the track ends with the mantra of the title (to be sung at the top of lungs in concert halls across Europe during the promotional tour).

    The Hard Shoulder has been billed as 'more of a collection of songs than a concept' , and the collection is a strong one, from Thunder Fly with its nods to Cannibal Surf Babe, The Monkees and Three Minute Boy, through the epic The Man from Planet Marzipanand Asylum Satellite #1 - both of which look at the mess we're making of our world socially in a very original and creative way - to the unashamed pop of Half The World and beyond to the unashamed mourning for pop stars and their artistic prostitution in Real Tears For Sale. Special mention must be made here for what is unquestionably to my mind one of THE most touching and beautiful songs ever written - Older Than Me, a brief meditation on a man who has met his soul partner in an older woman. Musically and lyrically exquisite.

    These are the high points for me, as a whole the double album is a huge return to form, and probably now in my top three favourite Marillion albums along with Braveand Afraid Of Sunlight - in many ways in fact it reminds me a lot of AOS, both musically and atmospherically. Speaking of musically - there are a lot of references to past melodies in here, not obvious recycling at all, more familiar echoes that knit this album together with its predecessors, but it also moves forward into new places, they seem unafraid to venture on into uncharted territory while also occasionally referring back to their prog roots. Maybe it is an album that is unashamedly unafraid of itself, the band saying 'stuff it' after the drubbing that previous album Somewhere Else received from a number of fans. This is a masterpiece of mind and soul music, but then that's what we expect from this band, isn't it? :-))

    The album is exclusively available from
  • Marillion at the Manchester Academy, 2008 - no spoilers!

    19 Nov 2008, 13:03 by IM7070

    Fri 14 Nov – Marillion

    This was one Marillion gig that I had become increasingly impatient to see, as the new album Happiness Is The Road has become pretty much all I've listened to over the last few weeks. I had some concerns about it though, having read the reports on the band's online forum from the previous night's Leeds date, which had assumed legendary proportions overnight - something borne out by the stupendous reaction from the fans when they did take the stage, with the cheering and applause actually delaying the start of the show for a few minutes! This welcome seemed to stun the band as well, and stunning would probably be an apt way to describe the whole gig really...

    With equal parts new and old tracks, the current album Happiness Is The Road was the star attraction. I'll not name any of the songs so as not to spoil it for anyone who's not been yet!
    Listening now again to the concert, available as a download from the online store at , H really was singing out of his skin - on the night I thought it was the best I'd ever heard him sing. Steve Rothery's guitar playing was also quite fantastic, some fab riffing going on there & the solos nailed just right. Anyone still to see them on this tour is in for a treat, they are playing (and writing) some really great material brilliantly well at the moment, for an 'old band' they're not being quiet and lying down ;) The quality of sound on the download is also exceptional. Highly recommended :-))
  • no-man - Schoolyard Ghosts, a review

    9 May 2008, 19:22 by IM7070

    No-Man's 6th official studio album Schoolyard Ghosts dropped through my letterbox last Friday. A week later and it's only just left the player. It's an infectious, beautiful work from an occasional collaboration that has consistently brought us a skilful combination of chill and chill-out for almost two decades.

    As with any band, there are echoes from previous releases here, I can hear some references from Carolina Skeletons and All That You Are (both from the Returning Jesus album), for instance. However, whatever past echoes there may be this album is definitely moving forwards. There's a depth of self-assurance coming out of these songs that I haven't got from the previous releases, but that doesn't mean that they've rested on their laurels. Listening to the surround version on the accompanying DVDA, the layering of sounds envelops you, it's absolutely absorbing to shut your eyes and try to hear everything that's going on around you. Lyrically, life gets picked over with Tim Bowness' customary fine toothed comb, and he produces yet another fantastic set of probing observations.
    This album, lyrically, from the title onwards is full of memories, longing and dreams. Musically, somehow they manage to evoke exactly the same emotions, a sound for hot summer evenings full of tensions and expectations between friends and lovers. Beautiful Songs You Should Know is a definitive gorgeous summer groove that ends far too soon! Pigeon Drummer by contrast is a brooding track broken by violent interludes, a commentary on night culture. The almost 13-minute Truenorth speaks of early life and regrets, but ends with optimism, while final track Mixtaped simmers along with suppressed power and heat.

    There are several guest artists, such as Pat Mastelotto of King Crimson, and Theo Travis. Strings are mostly provided courtesy of real instruments as usual, giving everything that much appreciated extra depth of sound and emotion. The cello on Beautiful Songs, for instance, exquisitely complements the main theme. But as always the musical composition, instrumentation, arrangement and production skills of Steven Wilson are the overriding complement to Bowness, and this collaboration once again has brought us another emotional rollercoaster, perfect for hot summer evenings with a bit of a nervous edge to them..
  • My week of collecting .......3 vinyls, 5 CD's and no downloads

    28 Jan 2008, 22:10 by bunny1966

    It was my birthday on the Friday of this week and web site was super efficient at changing my age on the stroke of midnight !!!

    Some of the attached were presents but have still had a quick charity shop run on Saturday.

    On Vinyl

    The Who- Who's Next (with the headhunters sleeve!!. I've already got this so might sell the lesser of the two on ebay.

    Aphex Twin- Classics. Excellent condition double vinyl which has the early digeridoo on it.

    Mick Fleetwood- his Africa lp called "the Visitor". I have no idea why I bought this !!! Is it any good....I'll find out.

    On CD

    All given to me for my birthday.

    CD's were Neil Young- Chrome Dreams II the new PJ Harvey CD and LCD Soundsystem album Sound of Silver.

    2 off Ebay this week Heaven up Here and the self titled CD by Echo And The Bunnymen


    No downloads this week.

    Trying to kick the habit but just can't help myself.

    Why do all the charity shops have the vinyl in such difficult bloody places. usually under a rack of really sweet smelling old coats.
  • My week of collecting ....... 4 Vinyls, 10 Cd's and no downloads!!!!

    19 Jan 2008, 23:31 by bunny1966

    This week have scoured the charity shops and under the Bert Weeden and James Last records found.....

    On Vinyl

    Billy Bragg- Talking with the Taxman about poetry.
    The Jam- Sound Affects
    Rory Gallagher- Top Priority

    I also picked up a rare album by Pete Bardens called The Answer. He used to be in Camel (who I can't stand) but the cover had semi clad ladies on it so I had to pick it up !!! Songs are pretty crap though.

    On CD

    CD's found were Pixies- Doolittle & Bossanova, both The Libertines CD's and Vallhalla Avenue by Fatima Mansions. The 1st Keane album, a Miles Davis & Gil Evans Jazz compilation and Lullabies to Paralyze by Queens of the Stone Age

    Lastly a great CD - Belle and Sebastian Are you Feeling Sinister. Added bonus that its also one I can notch off the 1000 vinyls to listen to before you die book - (which I am trying to complete).....

    One CD off Ebay this week...Grandaddy The Broken Down Comforter Collection.


    No downloads this week. Out of money.

    Trying to kick the habit but just can't help myself.

    Who the fuck are Bert Weeden and James Last anyway.
  • My week of collecting ....... 4 Vinyls, 2 CD's and one download !!!!

    4 Jan 2008, 21:21 by bunny1966

    This week have scoured the charity shops and bought...

    On Vinyl

    Therapy?- Troublegum (on green vinyl)
    House of Love- House of Love.
    Shuggie Otis - Here Comes Shuggie Otis

    I also picked up an album by The Books called lost and safe - never heard of them but the vinyl and cover was mint and I can't resist a good looking piece of vinyl !!!

    On CD

    CD's purchased was The Long Blondes- Someone to drive you home and a Everything But the Girl album which is in the 1000 vinyls to listen to before you die book - (which I am trying to complete).....


    Only one download this week. Laura Marling song that she played on Jools Holland last month...

    Trying to kick the habit but just can't help myself.
  • PB on TV

    3 Jun 2007, 14:53 by fearofmanc

    Another new song! That fifth album can't be more than a few years away at this rate.

  • Edward Hopper vs The Blue Nile

    2 Jun 2007, 23:05 by regis_uk

    I've pulled together a little Youtube vid of the pictures of Edward Hopper set to the music of The Blue Nile. It was an idea kicked off by a friend's comment but as I worked on it, I realised the synergy is just amazing.

    See what you think:

    Edward Hopper vs The Blue Nile
  • For one night only...

    30 Mar 2007, 10:19 by fearofmanc

    The Blue Nile will be playing a one-off concert at Manchester's Bridgewater Hall as part of the city's International Festival. More info here.