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Marillion - 1989 Seasons End

ARTIST: Marillion
ALBUM: Seasons End
SERIAL: CDP 7 92877 2
YEAR: 1989
CD REISSUE: 1997, EMI, 7243 8 57713 2 3 (with bonus CD, remastered)


LINEUP: Steve Hogarth - vocals * Steve Rothery - guitars * Pete Trewavas - bass * Mark Kelly - keyboards * Ian Mosley - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 The King of Sunset Town * 02 Easter * 03 The Uninvited Guest * 04 Seasons End * 05 Holloway Girl * 06 Berlin * 07 After Me * 08 Hooks In You * 09 The Space


When Fish left Marillion in the late 80s, the future seemed uncertain and a lot of people suspected they were finished. Determined not to be written off, the remaining band members recruited new vocalist Steve Hogarth, previously with The Europeans and little known Portrait Records signings How We Live. The result, in my opinion, is mind-blowing. Against the odds, 'Seasons End' is one of the finest albums of the bands career. Preceding the album, was the release of the single 'Hooks In You', a slice of radio-friendly rock. Compared with the band's previous work, this song is slightly more aggressive and direct. Looking back, this may have been a deliberate strategy - releasing something a little different to before; out with the old and in with the new, so to speak. The single's B-side was an acoustic number, 'After Me'. A song with a sentimental quality, it's almost the polar opposite to 'Hooks..' Within the context of the album, both songs are very effective, and 'After Me' is still one of my favourites.

The Songs
'King of Sunset Town', after a slow-burning intro, features some unmistakable Rothers guitar work. I love H's vocals on this one, especially during the chorus. Every time I hear the key change and he sings 'watch a big wheel turning round..' it's as great as the first time I heard it. This track also features a typical style Ian Mosley drum part. An absolute classic. Over a decade later, this song, 'Easter' and 'Uninvited Guest' are still firm favourites amongst the fans. 'Easter', another acoustic based song, features another superb performance from H, particularly during the closing section: 'what would you do, make a stone of your heart..'. To ignore the emotional qualities within this song, you'd have to be empty inside. Elsewhere on the album, 'Berlin' is a dark and brooding piece, which musically pre-dates H joining the band. It features some effective sax playing from Phil Todd. It's since been played live by Ben Castle, who has contributed with the band on several occasions. 'Holloway Girl' features a great bassline from Pete coupled with a huge chorus and the title track has a thoughtful lyric set against a fragile musical arrangement. It's one that's not often been performed live. Closing the album, 'The Space..' is another epic piece with huge keys from Mark. Musically, this one also pre-dates H joining, but unlike 'Berlin', I think this one was brought into the band as one of H's many unused pieces of music. Another full-on performance in the vocal department here: 'everybody in the whole of the world feels the same inside..' - completely moving. A great way to finish an album which is almost beyond criticism.

In Summary
One of the first times I saw H fronting the band was on a TV show called 'Rock Steady'. I caught the tail end of 'King of Sunset Town' followed by 'Easter', 'Uninvited Guest' and 'Slainte Mhath' (a song from the later days of the Fish era). After seeing that, I knew I just had to buy the album. If you're one of those people who only really know Marillion for 'Kayleigh' and 'Lavender', or alternatively, if the name Marillion means absolutely nothing to you, check out this album as soon as possible. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

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#1 | Eric on April 12 2012 00:41:03
Superb album that I wasn't sure I liked when it first came out- the Fish/ Hogarth thing, but definitely a fave of their catalog now. Obviously we need to ramp up our Marillion reviews and include the Fish era stuff!

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