..:: audio-music dot info ::..

Main Page      The Desert Island      Copyright Notice
Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz

Marillion: Afraid of Sunlight

 A l b u m   D e t a i l s

Label: EMI Records
Released: 1995.06.24
Category: Progressive Rock
Producer(s): Marillion, Dave Meegan
Media type: CD
Web address: www.marillion.com
Appears with:
Purchase date: 2012
Price in €: 1,00

 S o n g s ,   T r a c k s

[1] Gazpacho (Helmer/Hogarth/Kelly/Mosley/Rothery/Trewavas) – 7:28
[2] Cannibal Surf Babe (Helmer/Hogarth/Kelly/Mosley/Rothery/Trewavas) – 5:25
[3] Beautiful (Hogarth/Kelly/Mosley/Rothery/Trewavas) – 5:12
[4] Afraid of Sunrise (Helmer/Hogarth/Kelly/Mosley/Rothery/Trewavas) – 5:01
[5] Out of This World (Helmer/Hogarth/Kelly/Mosley/Rothery/Trewavas) – 7:54
[6] Afraid of Sunlight (Helmer/Hogarth/Kelly/Mosley/Rothery/Trewavas) – 6:49
[7] Beyond You (Hogarth/Kelly/Mosley/Rothery/Trewavas) – 6:10
[8] King (Hogarth/Kelly/Mosley/Rothery/Trewavas) – 7:03

 A r t i s t s ,   P e r s o n n e l

Steve Hogarth (Aka "H") – Vocals, Keyboards, Percussion, Arrangements, Producer
Steve Rothery – Guitars, Arrangements, Producer
Mark Kelly – Keyboards, Arrangements, Producer
Pete Trewavas – Bass, Arrangements, Producer
Ian Mosley – Drums, Arrangements, Producer

Barbara Lemzy - Additional Vocals

Dave Meegan - Arrangements, Engineer, Mixing, Producer
Stuart Every - Assistant Engineer
Michael Hunter - Assistant Engineer
Andrea Wright - Assistant Engineer
Michael Bauer - Mixing
Nick Davies - Mixing
Peter Mew - Digital Editing & Mastering
Paul Cox - Cover Photo, Photography
Lucy Jordache - Liner Notes, Project Coordinator
Nigel Reeve - Project Coordinator
Bill Smith - Design

 C o m m e n t s ,   N o t e s

2002 CD EMI EMD 1079

Recorded at The Racket Club, Aylesbury, Bucks. between January–June 1995

The album was originally released on Cassette, vinyl LP and CD. In 1998, as part of a series of Marillion's first eight studio albums, EMI re-released Afraid of Sunlight with remastered sound and a second disc containing bonus material, listed above. The remastered edition was later also made available without the bonus disc. A new 180 gram vinyl pressing was released in September 2013 by EMI. It was identical to the original vinyl release from 1995.

Afraid of sunlight was Marillion's first real progressive album since Fish had left the band. While it does not rank as high as classics like Script for a Jester's Tear or Fugazi, it still has some very strong moments. "Cannibal Surf Babe" is a tribute to the '60s (sort of). It starts off like the Beach Boys' "California Girls" before turning into the nightmarish tale of a cannibal woman! But the best moments are in the second half of the album, with tracks such as "Out of This World," "Afraid of Sunlight," and "King." As usual with Marillion, the keyboards stand out the most. There are some very beautiful melodic moments and perhaps a better mix between calm and agressive melodies than on previous albums made with Steve Hogarth.

Alex S. Garcia - All Music Guide

"...a 40-minute journey that touches on the legacy of Brian Wilson, Todd Rundgren and The Beatles, while hinting at the experimental trivialities of Jellyfish or Split Enz. There is a preposterous tone at times, but Steve Hogarth's voice is lovable, tear-jerking and even beautiful..."

Q (magazine) 4/5

The exhausted album. The long dark nighttime of the soul album. It has been around as long as the LP has been more than a collection of singles, and to some, these records have a glamour all their own.

When released, they are often misunderstood or ignored, only to be perennially rediscovered by record collectors and rock critics looking for something on the darker side. Such albums as There’s a Riot Goin’ On, Third/Sister Lovers and Exile on Main Street capture frustration and addiction on vinyl with vivid detail, throwing listeners into the bottomless pit of doom, dirge, and suspect mixing.

The ‘90s was a ripe time for darkness. The decade saw the commercialization of emotional bankruptcy as less creative artists imitated the suicide-chic of Kurt Cobain and the relentless nihilism of Tupac. In those days, English prog-rock band Marillion was a decade beyond its greatest chart success—1985’s Misplaced Childhood— and feeling the constant pressure of a band nearing the end of a major label contract.

When the band first started, it was at the forefront of a short-lived progressive rock revival in early 1980s England with a theatrical, six foot tall force of nature named Fish on vocals. With a defiant Scottish brogue and some Peter Hammill-inspired poetic lyrics, he personified the band to many fans as the group trucked on through four albums of meandering suites and sharp singles.

After reaching the top five in the British charts again with Clutching at Straws, the frontman and band parted ways. As Fish began his solo career, Marillion’s instrumentalists quickly found singer and session keyboardist Steve Hogarth, until then best known as a The The and Julian Cope sideman. After several albums spent sorting through its past in search of a new sound, Marillion spent 15 months recording what would become 1994’s Brave.

It was a commercial flop, completely out of sync with the Britpop that was all the rage in Marillion’s native land. After this, there was no chance EMI would invest the same amount of money as it did on Brave. The follow-up album would have to be recorded quickly and cheaply.

To insure this, producer Dave Meegan would sit in on the work from the first song written to the final song mastered to help the band maintain focus. Meegan attended their jam sessions and selected the raw material for the songs as Hogarth and his friend John Helmer wrote lyrics to express the dislocation they were feeling.

Marillion had always preferred to populate its songs with characters; Fish had masked his tales of drug and emotional abuse in stories, and the more direct Hogarth sang his best lyrics as the semi-fictional protagonist of Brave. This album would be no different.

Immersed in the O.J. Simpson case, struck by the death of Kurt Cobain, and fascinated by Scorsese’s “Raging Bull”, the lyricists refracted their own experiences through the lenses of these men. Though the band retained a fascination with studio trickery and irregular song structures, its sound became more modern under Meegan’s influence.

“Gazpacho” opens with Steve Rothery’s chiming guitar figure and Pete Trewavas’ hyperactive Blur-like bassline, as Hogarth conflates the stories of Jake LaMotta and O.J. Simpson. The track introduces the themes that will emerge over the next seven tracks, as Hogarth, at the edge of his range, sings, “Raging like a bull to an empty ring / Do you think that they’ll forgive a hero anything?” The song changes to an ominous chant of “Now your ring is just a band of gold,” as a news recording plays of Simpson’s car chase.

The album’s centerpiece is “Out of This World”. Questioning the very motives behind fame, the song’s inspiration was British daredevil Donald Campbell, who died attempting to break the water speed record in 1967. After two elliptical verses, the drums are muted and the recording of Campbell’s last radio transmission can be heard. Over a wash of keyboards, Hogarth sings “What the hell do we want / Is it only to go / Where nobody has gone?”

If “Out of This World” is the enterpiece, “Beyond You” is the psychic nadir. Channeling Phil Spector both in production and in its obsessive lyrics, the song is as unsettling as it is compelling. The vocal melody in the verses is minimal, with Hogarth muttering and mumbling in his lowest register before the spectacular release of the chorus. As he sings of “a hole in my body aching” during the bridge, the ache and exhaustion comes through in his voice.

The closing meditation, “King,” is a tantrum focused on Elvis and Kurt. Rather than surrender to the loneliness and pressure of fame, the song challenges those who embrace it. As the instrumental backing crumbles around him, Hogarth hoarsely sings, “I hope for your sake / You’ve got what it takes / To be spoilt to death”.

Helped neither by the laughable adult contemporary fluff that was the band’s video for the single “Beautiful” nor the strange album cover of an angel standing in front of a circular flame, Afraid of Sunlight disappeared upon its release. A cohesive fan base had not survived the seven years since Fish’s departure and a hardcore following would not rematerialize until the internet boom. Indeed, Marillion would become one of music’s great web success stories when fan campaigns fronted the money to pay for the group’s 1997 American tour and its last three self-released albums.

Remarkably, the band has come to a comfortable stasis, owing no money or music to a label and playing only for its fans; freedom from the responsibilities and pressures of the pop-life rat race.  They had stared that game right in the face and refused to play anymore, leaving EMI to sell the album to a nation gripped by Cool Britannia.  It would take Blur a few years and Oasis a decade to realize the party wouldn’t last forever.  Rather than deal with the trivialities of celebrity, Afraid of Sunlight examines the larger issue: What happens when we achieve all our wildest dreams and we have nothing left to do but hold on for as long as we can?

Bob Short, 5 March 2008
© 1999-2015 PopMatters.com

Afraid of Sunlight is Marillion's eighth studio album, released in 1995. It was their last for EMI (who would, however, continue to release back-catalogue material on compilations and re-issues, as well as distribute some later recordings). It was the first Marillion studio album to fail to reach the Top 10 in the UK Albums Chart, peaking at number 16 and falling out of the Top 40 after two weeks. Despite this, Afraid of Sunlight became one of the band's most critically acclaimed albums and was included in Q magazine's "Recordings of the Year" for 1995. It was retrospectively described by Jeri Montesano of Allmusic as "the peak of Marillion's growing, impressive body of work" and by colleague Jason Ankeny as "the most consistent Marillion release to date".

While not a concept album as such, Afraid of Sunlight repeatedly examines the destructive side of celebrity. In particular, "Afraid of Sunlight" refers to self-destructive thrill-seekers such as James Dean; "Out of This World" is about world land and water speed record holder Donald Campbell, killed in 1967, while "Gazpacho" seems to refer to Mike Tyson. "King" refers to Elvis Presley, Kurt Cobain, and Michael Jackson. The song "Beyond You" is reminiscent of Phil Spector's Wall of Sound productions, and is recorded monaurally rather than in stereo.

The first half of the album has a more satirical tone. "Gazpacho" lampoons the Hollywood lifestyle, "Cannibal Surf Babe" is a Beach Boys pastiche also inspired by late-night horror movies, and "Beautiful"'s utopian lyrics may be written from the perspective of an unmoored celebrity.

Steve Hogarth named the 1980 Martin Scorsese film Raging Bull, about a boxer's inability to deal with fame, as a strong influence on the album. Hogarth also cited O.J. Simpson, on trial for murder at the time the album was recorded, as another influence on its theme; the wind-down of "Gazpacho" ends with a sample from a news report on Simpson's infamous flight from the police.

The wreckage of Donald Campbell's Bluebird K7 and Campbell's remains were not recovered until 28 May 2001 when diver Bill Smith was inspired to look for the wreck after hearing "Out of This World". Both Steve Hogarth and Steve Rothery were present at the raising.


 L y r i c s

Currently no Lyrics available!

 M P 3   S a m p l e s

Currently no Samples available!