Released by: Eagle Rock Ent
Release Date: Out Now!!!
Genre: Progressive Rock
02. Sounds That Can’t Be Made
03. Pour My Love
06. Invisible Ink
07. Lucky Man
08. The Sky Above The Rain
I had to give myself some time with this one. My initial reaction was very enthusiastic, but repeated listens revealed a slight lack of depth that differentiates this album from the 5 eternal masterpieces in Marillion’s catalog (Misplaced Childhood, Clutching at Straws, Brave, Afraid of Sunlight and Marbles).
Gaza is very much like “This Strange Engine” (the song) in that there are many kind of meandering, so-so parts to sit through, with interjections of classic, moving passages scattered throughout. But unlike TSE, this doesn’t have the classic Rothery solos. And I just can’t get behind the lyrics. If it were simply the viewpoint of a child growing up in Gaza it would be different, but additional sentiments such as “will we forgive them if they take us with them” are just a little too much for me to handle.
Tracks 2,3, and 4 are all quality Marillion. Like the best tracks of the majority of their half classic/half pedestrian post-Afraid of Sunlight releases.
There is also, despite the long song lengths of the album, a slight more bombastic, poppy, optimistic atmosphere to the album. The album is confident and brazen, and doesn’t revel much in pathos and fragility. But since Marillion excel in those areas, the album comes on to take a slight lack of depth with repeated listens.
Montreal is pretty much what everyone says it is…long, meandering, mostly uninteresting, with lyrics consisting of diary entries.Invisible Ink is a powerhouse of a song, and perhaps the highlight of the album. If the album could have closed out stronger, it could have eked out a 9, but unfortunately, like the worst H era songs (Accidental Man, Hooks in You, Built-In Bastard Radar come to mind), Lucky Man is a whole lot of nothing.
The Sky Above the Rain closes out the album with a beautiful and simply stated lyrical sentiment (guy and girl still together, but girls initial adoration and deep love she once held for him have long left the building). But despite the tearful lyrics and everything being in the right place, much like the relationship it details, the songs feels unfulfilled and lacking..as if those transcendent moments of classic music needed to really push this over the top never really came to fruition in the recording process, and the band just ran with what they had.