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Marillion - 1995 Afraid Of Sunlight

ARTIST: Marillion
ALBUM: Afraid Of Sunlight
SERIAL: 7243 8 33874 2 7
YEAR: 1995
CD REISSUE: 1999, EMI, 7243 498614 2 8


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

Additional vocals Hannah Stobart, Wendy Paige, Barbara Lezmy

TRACK LISTING: 01 Gazpacho * 02 Cannibal Surf Babe * 03 Beautiful * 04 Afraid Of Sunrise * 05 Out Of This World * 06 Afraid Of Sunlight * 07 Beyond You * 08 King


After the epic darkness of the 'Brave' concept album and tour of '94, it wasn't really possible to predict which direction the next Marillion album would take. 'Afraid of Sunlight' came out of left field in the summer of '95 to a mixed response. Not as focused as 'Brave', not as commercial as 'Holidays In Eden' or as instantly Marillion as 'Seasons End', the album captures the band in an experimental mood.

The Songs
The opening track 'Gazpacho' is one of the more typically Marillion songs on offer. It has a classic Rothery sound to the rhythm guitar parts, set against an easily recognisable Ian Mosley drum technique and a top vocal performance from H. They could've perhaps made better use of the chorus, but despite that, it's a great piece. 'Cannibal Surf Babe', on the other hand, is one of my least favourite Marillion songs. I never really appreciated the 'joke', but then, in the beginning, neither did Mark Kelly. The album's only single release, 'Beautiful', is dangerously MOR. It sounds like it was written deliberately with a 'hit single' in mind. In my opinion, it's a poor relation to 'No One Can' from 1991's 'Holidays In Eden' album. 'Afraid of Sunrise' is the first real stand-out number here; a piece with an understated vocal from H and fantastic fluid sounding bass work from Trewavas. It's a song with a real warmth and it more than makes up for the horrible 'Cannibal Surf Babe'. The same goes for 'Out Of This World', which substitutes the fluid bass for a darker atmosphere supplied by Mark Kelly. Both 'Out Of This World' and 'Afraid of Sunrise' make great late-night listening. The former also contains one of Steve R's best guitar solos on this album. 'Afraid of Sunlight' reprises some of the lyric ideas from 'Afraid of Sunrise', though this time around the music has more of an urgency and H sings like his life depends on it. Musically, this track shows what the band can be capable of when they all pull in the same direction. It's nothing short of stunning. 'Beyond You' is another track which sees the band branching out. Pete's bass comes to the fore once again, counterbalanced by Mark's keys. Rothers and Ian kick in for the chorus, which it has to be said, is pure Walker Brothers - not something you'd normally expect from Marillion. The closing number, 'King', features some rather aggressive guitar work from Steve R. Almost certainly his edgiest work on record up to that point (Rothery would capitalise further on his more aggressive guitar sound on 1998's 'Radiation'). After the aggressive section, all is quiet again as H sings with keyboard accompaniment: 'Message of love I write every day / People you touch, wasted away/and people you don't know, give you no choice'. It's the lull before the storm before Rothery comes back and the music builds and gets louder and the band all pull together for the big finish. Understandably, this album closer would become the band's live-set closer for some years.

In Summary
'Afraid of Sunlight' did not sell as well as the band hoped and it was their last studio offering for EMI (they finished their contract with the double live 'Made Again'). Owing to it's inconsistencies, 'Afraid of Sunlight' may not be Marillion's greatest offering as a whole, but it works rather well as a collection of songs.

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#1 | tonissive on April 05 2010 22:28:13
i have this album on vinyl(i paid for it only 25$ when the album was released in 1995,also was the last marillion album released on vinyl) now 15 years after in ebay it sell for hundreds of $! crazy people,millionaires?hmm!

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