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Marillion: Sounds That Can't Be Made

 A l b u m   D e t a i l s

Label: e.a.r. music
Released: 2012.09.14
Category: Progressiv Rock
Producer(s): Marillion & Michael Hunter
Media type: CD
Web address: www.marillion.com
Appears with:
Purchase date: 2014
Price in €: 1,00

 S o n g s ,   T r a c k s

[1] Gaza (Marillion) - 17:31
[2] Sounds That Can't Be Made (Marillion) - 7:16
[3] Pour My Love (Marillion/J.Helmer) - 6:02
[4] Power (Marillion) - 6:07
[5] Montréal (Marillion) - 14:04
[6] Invisible Ink (Marillion) - 5:47
[7] Lucky Man (Marillion) - 6:58
[8] The Sky Above the Rain (Marillion) - 10:34

 A r t i s t s ,   P e r s o n n e l

Steve Hogarth – Vocals, Keyboards, Producer, Recording Engineer, Mixing
Mark Kelly - Keyboards, Backing Vocals, Producer, Recording Engineer, Mixing
Ian Mosley - Drums, Backing Vocals, Producer, Recording Engineer, Mixing
Steve Rothery - Guitars, Backing Vocals, Producer, Recording Engineer, Mixing
Pete Trewavas - Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals, Electric Guitar on [6], Producer, Recording Engineer, Mixing

Diana Stanbridge - Backing Vocals
Linette Petersen - Backing Vocals
Nial Hogarth - Backing Vocals
Sofi Hogarth - Backing Vocals
Tracey Campbell - Backing Vocals

Michael Hunter - Producer, Recording Engineer, Mixing
Simon Heyworth - Mastering
Francesco De Comité - Cover, Photography
Antonio Seijas - Gaza Artwork
Simon Ward - Artwork
Lucy Jordache - A&R
Andy Wright - Photography

 C o m m e n t s ,   N o t e s

Mastered at Super Audio Mastering. Recorded at The Racket Club, Buckinghamshire and Real World Studios, 2011/2012. Additional guitars recorded at UTB Studios

Marillion has always been a bit of a musical conundrum. The group began in the '80s as the heir apparent to Yes, Pink Floyd and Genesis, but over the course of its unpredictable career has explored a wide range of styles to develop a body of work that defies easy categorization.

The veteran band's latest release is 'Sounds That Can't Be Made,' and this time out Marillion delivers a mix of shorter songs with less elaborate arrangements, as well as several longer tracks that are among the standouts from this record.

The album's opening track, "Gaza," is also its centerpiece. A dramatic intro theme gives way to an interesting use of distorted guitar over synth pads, with electronic-style drums underpinning the track. The song has a cinematic quality, with a lyric written from the perspective of an innocent child growing up in the generations-old madness and violence of the Gaza strip, destined to repeat it. "You ask for trouble if you stray too close to the wall/My father died feeding the birds/Mom goes in front of me to check for soldiers," Steve Hogarth sings in fine form. "It's like a nightmare rose up slouching towards Bethlehem."

Like most of the rest of the album, there's an absence of long, showy instrumental sections. The musicians are using their instruments to create drama, tension and relief, rather than calling attention to their individual instrumental ability -- though guitarist Steve Rothery turns in a soaring solo that aptly demonstrates the trademark blend of melody, tone and phrasing that has always set him apart.

"Montreal" is another long standout track, with a sparse verse like a sleepy dreamscape. It's not progressive rock per se -- progressive adult contemporary is probably closer to the truth, and the track probably could have been shorter and accomplished essentially the same thing. It's saved by the buildup into a more energetic passage, where Hogarth jumps into the top part of his range to great effect.

The rest of the album is a mixed bag focused mostly on shorter songs. "Sounds That Can't Be Made" features an oddly atonal vocal melody reminiscent of John Lennon -- if Lennon had been the singer in a latter-day progressive rock band. Obviously the sounds can be made -- the very existence of the album proves it -- but Marillion has created a diverse sound palette, and not just a collection of weird sounds, either. These sonic choices serve the songs, for the most part. Marillion at its core is a song-based band, and its various production and arrangement elements exist to deliver those songs in their best and highest form.

"Pour My Love" is a fairly straightforward mid-tempo pop tune, but still rendered very, very well by the group's restrained playing, beautiful instrumentation and Hogarth's strong vocal. The verse of "Power" is almost musically reminiscent of the lost Marillion classic "Cinderella Search" in its minimalist approach before building into a classic Marillion track, while "Invisible Ink" is the closest thing to throwaway pop on the album. "Lucky Man" (no, it's not a cover of the ELP classic) features a heavy, dark guitar riff but meanders a bit, without a clear melodic thread but with a reasonably strong chorus. Rothery redeems the track with yet another superb guitar solo -- of which he seems to have been born with an inexhaustible lifetime supply.

The album wraps with "The Sky Above the Rain," which, typically for this record, builds from a sparse verse into a bigger arrangement. There's nothing particularly wrong with it other than being too long, but it feels like one too many of this type of track in the same place, though Rothery improves it somewhat with a Beatle-esque guitar solo.

In the end, Marillion might not have succeeded in making sounds that can't be made -- technically, that would result in an album of silence -- but they have created yet another richly diverse album that demonstrates their continuing dedication to being a true progressive rock band; one that continues to move forward, instead of merely recapitulating old '70s forms. There's plenty here to hold the attention of old and new fans alike.

Examiner.com Entertainment - October 28, 2012

There’s a reason most prog albums leave the epic song for the end, as Marillion’s 17th album made clear. They began here with “Gaza,” a dramatic rumination on the senselessness of war, and then seemed to struggle for a while to regain momentum.

It was only with repeated listenings that the rest of this complex, deeply felt recording began to coalesce. Given time, Sounds That Can’t Be Made ended up sounding like one of the best efforts yet for Marillion — something underscored by this new expanded two-disc treatment of the 2012 release, due on February 11, 2014 via earMusic/Eagle Rock.

The title track, for instance, is this glorious torrent of sexy-gloomy thoughts on love, with keyboards running like rivulets all around Steve Hogarth’s thunderstruck vocals. “Pour My Love” is even more spacious, even more earnest, and thus perhaps the album’s weakest song. But Marillion rebounds nicely with the aptly named “Power,” a track that begins with this glacial beauty, and then builds so slowly that at first it’s almost imperceptible — until, seemingly all at once, Steve Rothery and Co. have created a storm of swirling moods.

“Montreal,” a introspective tribute to their rabid fans that is itself a multi-part 13-minute suite, swerves into a dreamscape passageway at its midway point that recalls the pre-Dark Side of the Moon excursions of Pink Floyd. It’s another stirring example of how Marillion’s patterned rock, so deftly augmented by Pete Trewavas, Mark Kelly and Ian Mosley, adds this twilit complexity to Hogarth’s narratives.

Meanwhile, Hogarth discards the keening Bono-esque attitude of some of his more recent outings with the band, sounding instead more like Mark Hollis from late-period Talk Talk on tracks like “Invisible Ink” and “Lucky Man” — confidential and direct, impossibly fragile. (And that’s even more true on the alternate versions included on Disc 2 of this forthcoming set, with “Lucky Man” showing up in demo form while “Invisible Ink” is featured from a live date in Holland: “It’s not a game,” Hogarth cries at one point in the latter, driving home the sense of visceral expectancy surrounding Sounds That Can’t Be Made.) “The Sky Above the Rain” ends things on an anthematic note, as Rothery surrounds one of Hogarth’s most committed vocals with this utterly enveloping sense of drama.

Each of these moments is explored, often with even more raw emotion, over a series of seperate takes that round out this new special edition. The original album’s “Power” and “Pour My Love” are featured, along with “Wrapped Up in Time” from 2008’s Happiness Is the Road, from a performance on French radio. The title track of Sounds That Can’t Be Made is also included from the March 2013 set in the Netherlands, a concert that will be released in its entirety later this year on DVD, Blu-ray and CD via Racket Records.

Of course, there’s also “Gaza” — this career-making triumph, perhaps misplaced so early in this song cycle. A 17-minute examination of the dangers of nationalism, the often-shocking aftermath, and the small things we grab for in order to make sense of the emotional dissonance surrounding war, “Gaza” pulls no punches, musically — or lyrically.

Listen as the track moves from stomping portent, while the lyric describes a desolate setting filled with danger and unrest, into a series of twilit sequences set to a crunchy, mechanized cadence. Back and forth “Gaza” swings, drawing you into this sense of restive, idyllic reverie — and of a desperate desire for peace, no matter which bunker they call home — only to have the landscape torn asunder by these completely unexplainable moments of violence. It’s not unlike, you have to imagine, living in the strife-torn part of the world this track is named after.

When Hogarth sings, with growing turbulence, “it just ain’t right — it’s just ain’t right,” it’s hard not to be overcome by the costs, the very real costs, of these conflicts. “Gaza” ends with the kind of crashing realizations, and the deep introspection, typically reserved for great books. Given all of that, is it any surprise that Sounds That Can’t Be Made felt like a bit of a let down, at least on initial listenings, once “Gaza” has drawn to a close?

Keep going, though. All of these sounds are worth hearing.

Nick DeRiso - February 8, 2014
Copyright © 2015 Something Else!

The English band Marillion just keeps plugging along. Guitarist Steve Rothery, keyboardist Mark Kelly, bassist Pete Trewavas, drummer Ian Mosley, and vocalist and jack of all trades Steve Hogarth are back with their seventeenth studio album, Sounds That Can't Be Made, the subject of which I discussed with Hogarth on this site a few weeks ago. (To watch the entire video interview, click here.)

Sounds was finished at Real World Studios, and Kelly has remarked that working there let the band regroup and gave them a fresh perspective. The eight-song album debuted at number 43 on the British album chart.

I've listened to the album about 20 times now and here's my review. In short, fans will not be disappointed. Sounds is a melodic and challenging album worth seeking out, the band's most complete effort since 2004's Marbles.

The first track, "Gaza," is a layered and ambitious 17-minute song with many stops and starts. The subject is equally ambitious: in the Middle East. It's no surprise that the song has engendered quite a bit of controversy. In expectation of this maelstrom, the band included an explanation of the song's intent next to the lyrics. Rothery has called "Gaza" the most important track the band has ever written. In Hogarth's words, "Temporary for over 50 years now, Gaza is today, effectively, a city imprisoned without trial."

The haunting title track, "Sounds That Can't Be Made" features one of the album's high points: Rothery's emotive guitar solo. It sends chills down my spine. "Pour My Love" is originally based upon based a John Helmer lyric from the band's Holidays in Eden era. The song has a classic Marillion feel, espeically with Rothery's rhythm guitar.

"Power" begins with a grooving bass lines by Trewavas and has really grown on me. The lyrics to the slow, epic, and powerful "Montreal" come right out of Hogarth's diary. "Invisible Ink" offers some beautiful introductory chords by Kelly before morphing into a more of a traditional rock-and-roll song. The simple lyrics of "Lucky Man" underlie incredibly moving music. (The song is my personal favorite of this album.) Musically, it evokes images of "The Last Century for Man" from the band's 2007 album Somewhere Else.

"The Sky Above The Rain" again features melodic chords and notes by Kelly. In the song, Hogarth tells the personal story of a complex relationship with an ultimate message of hope.

At a high level, there's plenty in Sounds to keep traditional Marillion fans happy. At the same time, though, lyrically and musically the band continues to evolve.

Phil Simon, 10/05/2012
Copyright ©2015 TheHuffingtonPost.com

With Sounds That Can't Be Made, Marillion continue their successful musical journey. The 17th studio album is as soulful and powerful as ever, including 8 brand new songs. Recorded at Racket studio in England, the album echoes the great layered sound of albums like Marbles and Afraid of Sunlight, all that Marillion fans hope to hear on a new record. Songs like Gaza and Montreal show once more, that epic progressive songwriting can speak the musical language of the new millennium. Power and Lucky Man remind us that pop-rock music can also be powerful and deep. The new album cover has been designed by Simon Ward while the booklet will feature the contribution of artists including Antonio Seijas, Andy Wright, Carl Glover, Marc Bessant and photographs taken from onboard the International Space Station!


Sounds That Can't Be Made is Marillion's 17th studio album, released on September 17, 2012. Besides the standard edition there is also a "deluxe campaign edition" containing a bonus DVD with a feature-length documentary called Making Sounds.

The 17-minute opening track, "Gaza", is perhaps the most overtly political song Marillion have done since 1989. Its lyrics take the perspective of a boy growing up in the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip. Singer Steve Hogarth explained, "This is a song for the people – especially the children – of Gaza. It was written after many conversations with ordinary Palestinians living in the refugee camps of Gaza and the West Bank. I spoke also to Israelis, to NGO workers, to a diplomat unofficially working in Jerusalem, and took their perspectives into account whilst writing the lyric. It is not my/our intention to smear the Jewish faith or people – we know many Jews are deeply critical of the current situation – and nothing here is intended to show sympathy for acts of violence, whatever the motivation, but simply to ponder upon where desperation inevitably leads. Many Gazan children are now the grandchildren of Palestinians BORN in the refugee camps - so called "temporary" shelters. Temporary for over 50 years now. Gaza is today, effectively, a city imprisoned without trial." Like David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Chris Martin and others, Marillion support the "HOPING Foundation", an NGO that supports Palestinian children and adolescents in the refugee camps, and encourage their fans to do the same.

Like with several previous albums, Marillion used pre-ordering for Sounds That Can't Be Made to finance the album. In return, pre-order buyers received the special edition deluxe campaign edition box-set. The band had previously used the same approach successfully with the albums Anoraknophobia (2001), Marbles (2004) and Happiness Is the Road (2008).

Before the release of Sounds That Can't Be Made, two promotional songs were released on YouTube: "Power" on 17 July 2012 and "Gaza" on 4 September 2012.

The cover was designed by Simon Ward. The artwork for the booklet was designed by five different artists, photographers and designers: Antonio Seijas, Simon Ward, Andy Wright, Marc Bessant and Carl Glover. The binary data shown on the cover and the image on the box of the Deluxe Campaign Edition is taken from the Arecibo message.


 L y r i c s

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 M P 3   S a m p l e s

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