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Articles Home » 1981 Articles » Briley, Martin - 1981 Fear Of The Unknown
Briley, Martin - 1981 Fear Of The Unknown

ARTIST: Briley, Martin
ALBUM: Fear Of The Unknown
LABEL: Mercury
SERIAL: SRM-1 4026
YEAR: 1981


LINEUP: Martin Briley - lead & backing vocals, guitars, bass, percussion

Guests: Eric Parker - drums * Tommy Mandel - synthesizer * Graham Preskett - piano, violin * Robert Brissette - bass, backing vocals * Eric Troyer - backing vocals * David Naidien, Graham Preskett - violin * Manny Vardi - viola * Charles McCraken - cello

TRACK LISTING: 01 Slipping Away * 02 The Man I Feel * 03 I Feel Like A Milkshake * 04 First To Know * 05 Heart Of Life * 06 A Little Knowledge Is A Dangerous Thing * 07 I Don't Feel Better * 08 More Of The Same * 09 One Step Behind * 10 Fear Of The Unknown

WEBLINKS: www.martinbriley.com

Martin Briley needs no introduction on these hallowed pages since many of us remember his 1983 single 'Salt In My Tears' and have one or more of his albums in the collection, but solo success was a fickle mistress for Briley. One hit single and three critically acclaimed records in four years then nothing, seemingly preferring to remain in the shadows writing songs for other artist's most with nowhere near the talents of the man himself. Signs of life in 2006 and a welcome return with 'It Comes In Waves' which was pleasant enough, but lacking the cutting edge pop of his early releases, including his essential debut 'Fear Of The Unknown'.

The Songs
There's a progressive edge to this album, no doubt influenced by Briley's stint in Greenslade. In fact, he often sounds uncannily like an AOR version of Peter Gabriel, although he moved away from this style with each successive album. There are few songs here that received some air play on FM radio including the opener 'Slipping Away', and like 'The Man I Feel' uses a nifty Queen influenced guitar solo and hook. Now I'm not a big lyric guy, for me it's all about the melodies, but part of my attraction to Briley's music is his clever use of words and no better example than the new wavey 'I Feel like A Milkshake' which strangely enough reminds me of the poppier moments of Kayak as does side two's lead-off cut 'A Little Knowledge Is A Dangerous Thing'. The record's single 'I Don't Feel Better' did garner some air play, but in my opinion isn't the strongest song here. The middle eight on 'More Of The Same' is suitably quirky, but much better is 'One Step Behind' and man oh man, it would be very easy mistake this tune with Genesis if you didn't know exactly who you were listening to. A must hear as is the title track which includes a string quartet to great effect.

In Summary
Definitely on my 'want list' for CD reissue, why it hasn't received the digital treatment yet is a surprise. His sophomore release 'One Night With A Stranger' was issued on disc in Europe several years ago, no doubt due to 'Salt In My Tears', but is almost impossible to find these days although the Yesterrock label currently have it on their release list. How about giving 'Fear Of The Unknown' and 1984's 'Dangerous Moments' a shot someone, anyone?

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This article has been tagged
#1 | machoman on August 25 2010 16:40:50
Actually, you can find a cd boxset called "the mercury years" with his first 3 albums + bonus tracks. It's still available on Amazon.Cool
#2 | RobLynott on August 25 2010 17:32:29
I got it from here for a very very good price: http://cgi.ebay.com/Mercury-Years-Box-set-Martin-Briley-USA-CD-/220611493498?pt=Music_CDs

The box contains all Briley-cds from the 80s + many unreleased tracks from that time in brillant sound quality. Highly recommended!
#3 | Eric on August 25 2010 17:54:43
Unaware of that- Thanks guys!
#4 | Nick C on August 25 2010 22:14:05
This is another guy that Jez made me get into, I swear he puts a gun to my head and makes me buy stuff. Frown
I grabbed the Mercury years collection some year back and it's a superb set. Mind you his last album It Comes in Waves is no slouch either....like Pokemon...gotta get em all!
#5 | Danielovich on September 09 2010 17:22:05
I knew Martin through his hit 'The salt in my tears' and thought it was just OK. I read this comments and Eric's review and bought the box set on the spot.
I am truly grateful of your info, because both CD's are fantastic! Thanks Eric,Machoman,RobLynott and Nick C!goodjob
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