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NEW ALBUM: Marillion - With Friends from the Orchestra
MARILLION ~ With Friends from the Orchestra
[Image: R-14275550-1572216050-4160.jpeg.jpg]
Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin?? I can’t figure out what inspired this cover imagery. Anyone? Mind you – that’s probably what it is, as they themselves deem this album of reworkings a thing of beauty (and they hope we agree!). 

I’d say that it’s a ‘must have’ for anyone who’d like a quality Marillion compilation that is not a 'best of' - just a selection. The addition of the string quartet, In Praise of Folly, and a flute and a French horn certainly hasn’t done them any harm. The arrangements are different, of course, with a more orchestrated feel, but not so far removed from the originals as to be unrecognisable - the songs are enhanced in most instances, I think.

Love ‘em or not, Marillion has made some epic tracks – “Estonia” and “Ocean Cloud” are just two firm favourites that have been beautifully constructed, lyrically as well as compositionally (is that a word? If not, it is now  Big Grin ). Hogarth likes to sing about real stuff, meaty stuff, and he’s eloquent. He was moved by the terrible tragedy of the sinking of the ocean ferry Estonia, and for many reasons taken with the story of the solo ocean rower Don Allum which inspired “Ocean Cloud”.

This is thoughtful music and while I can’t claim to be au fait with all their work, I have listened to a few albums; I think they are an acquired taste which once the bug has bitten, will not let go. Excellent musicians with a loyal following even if they are perenially less than fashionable – and who cares about that anyway? Frankly, I think it’s probably better for one's sanity NOT to subscribe to whatever gunk is being pushed on the popularity charts.

Back to Marillion – Steve Rothery continues to shine but they’re all most accomplished, and as I mentioned before when “Estonia” was released, the existing line-up (Rothery, Hogarth, Pete Trewavas, Paul Kelly, Ian Mosley) has been together for some time so they’re quite comfortable with one another which is evident. If the fans are to be believed, they are an excellent live act who are in their prime right now. It would be nice if they’d put together an album of brand-new material soonish too!

Track listing:
1              Estonia 7:57
2              A Collection 3:04
3              Fantastic Place  6:01
4              Beyond You 5:25
5              This Strange Engine 16:20
6              The Hollow Man 4:23
7              The Sky Above The Rain 10:33
8              Seasons End 8:00
9              Ocean Cloud 18.00

As much as I love “Ocean Cloud” and the whole story behind it, “Estonia” remains the best track on the album for me … full album here -

"The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us." ~ Bill Watterson

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