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Marillion - 2001 Anoraknophobia

ARTIST: Marillion
ALBUM: Anoraknophobia
LABEL: EMI Records
SERIAL: 7243 532321 2 2
YEAR: 2001


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

TRACK LISTING: 01 Between You And Me * 02 Quartz * 03 Map Of The World * 04 When I Meet God * 05 The Fruit Of The Wild Rose * 06 Seperated Out * 07 This Is The 21st Century * 08 If My Heart Were A Ball It Would Roll Uphill * 09 Number One


'Anorak - What's wrong with that?' ask Marillion, a band who've also claimed, with tongue firmly in cheek, they're 'uncool as fuck'. Given this evidence, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the Los Marillos have given up completely on the idea of being contemporary. The fact is, nothing could be further from the truth. 'Radiation' had, in part, shown the band in a more aggressive light and it's more laid back moments earned comparisons with Radiohead, and 'marilliondotcom' had elements of commercial friendliness ('Rich' and 'Deserve') and trip-hop ('House'). 'Anoraknophobia' takes further steps to experiment and try and shake the 'prog' tag with which the band are still somewhat unfairly labelled.

The Songs
Opening with the seemingly pop-flavoured 'Between You And Me' with its jangly guitars and quirky drum loop, it amazes me how Marillion are still regarded as prog by the rock press and largely ignored by everyone else. Dinosaur rock it most definitely is not. The great hit single which never was? Absolutely. The track has a great breezy, summery quality which deserves to reach a much larger audience. 'Map of the World' is also rooted firmly in the pop/rock field. It's a borderline AOR tune (though nowhere near as AOR as some parts of 1991's 'Holidays In Eden') co-written with ex-Cutting Crew man Nick Van Eede. On the darker side, 'Quartz' re-visits the trip-hop feel of 'House', although it's far more aggressive with Pete's circular bassline giving the song a solid backbone. Like it's predecessor 'House', 'Quartz' also deals with the subject of a busted relationship. Lyrically it finds Hogarth in a rather bitter mindset ('I can imagine nothing more tedious than trying to have fun with you again'). Using timepiece symbolism to portray the people within the song ('I'm clockwork and you're Quartz') is the work of genius, as it takes a subject which has been written about like a million times before to a whole new level. This idea is especially effective when Hogarth (and I'm assuming the song is about him, as many of his previous lyrics have been based on personal experience) explains he's not perfect: 'I need maintenance / I need patience / I'm not foolproof, waterproof, shockproof, bombproof, bulletproof, fireproof, leakproof, childproof, stainproof or pressureproof '. There's no question about it, 'Quartz' is one of the best songs the band have ever written. Period. 'When I Meet God' is lighter and features a fairly gentle, though heartfelt h vocal and a well rounded musical arrangement. 'This Is The 21st Century' also centres itself around a lightweight musical arrangement, and although it's the polar opposite of 'Quartz' is also a strong contender for one of the greatest songs Marillion have ever recorded. Once again, in this rather cruel and fashion obsessed world we live in, it's my guess that had this song been written by a more 'popular' band, it would've been lavished with praise. The way the press treat Marillion most of the time, though, I can't see any songwriting awards on the horizon.. 'Separated Out' once again provides great contrast, it's driving force being Steve Rothery's aggressive and driving guitar riff. Being a sort of distant relation of 'Hard As Love' from 1994's 'Brave' album, this track should appeal to those of you who enjoy melodic rock with a harder edge.

In Summary
Eight songs. No fillers. A playing time of just over an hour. Quality. I can't tell you any more plainly than that. It's one of the best albums of 2001 and it's certainly Marillion's strongest album since 1994's 'Brave'. Anorak - what's wrong with that? Absolutely nothing.

Related Articles
Marillion - 1989 Seasons End
Marillion - 1991 Holidays In Eden
Marillion - 1995 Afraid Of Sunlight
Marillion - 1998 Radiation
Marillion - 2001 Anoraknophobia

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#1 | trillion1999 on October 28 2011 15:14:42
I love Marillion the Fish-era and would certainly like to hear everything Marillion the H-era.Your reviews have convinced me that if I do not listen to them in chronological order Brave followed by this album would be the best introduction to them.I have allready heard Seasons End and Holidays In Eden.Now I know Marillion and Van Halen have nothing in common yet I found out a strange coincidence as I often do having more time than sanity.Van Halen first had David Lee Roth who is nicknamed Diamond Dave.I do not know if Fish was ever a big bad Bill but excluding the Sweet William-part.What is his real name Derek Dick exactly.Now who took over on vocals in Van Halen Sammy Hagar.Who took over on vocals in Marillion Steve Hogarth.Spooky or just pathetic.I let you be the judge.Cool user-name.

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