Sanctuary Records, 1984


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


When Marillion came out with their debut disc Script For A Jester's Tear, it often sounded like Fish and company were uncertain which direction they wanted to take their music. And while it was still quite listenable, often the more lengthy pieces sounded like they had glued together two entirely different songs to create a pseudo-epic.

Their second effort, 1984's Fugazi, takes the lessons that Marillion learned from their first foray into full-length album work and builds upon them. Musically, this is a stronger album from the band, and it's even more approachable than anything of Marillion's I've listened to up to this point. After just one listen, I felt comfortable with the album, something that normally would take me three listens with everything else I've gotten to. Yet the picture still seems a little incomplete.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Some people have said that Fugazi represented Marillion's venture into the area of "hard rock"; this really is a misnomer. The track "Assassing" does have a bit crisper of a beat, but it's not like Marillion had always been exploring folk options (check out "Market Square Heroes" off the bonus disc from Script From A Jester's Tear). If anything, Marillion sounds like they're much more comfortable in their musical skin here.

There's still a lot of tempo switching - but as any long-time Marillion fan will quickly point out, this has been a constant throughout their career. Besides, it does sound more natural this time around going from tracks like "Punch And Judy" to "She Chameleon". (Yes, I know they don't follow each other on the album.)

An additional bonus with Fugazi is the re-released version's bonus disc helps to reinforce the power of the tracks with demo versions of four of the album's seven songs (as well as an alternate mix of "Assassing"). Could hearing the same songs so close together get a bit tiring? Maybe to some people - but at least to my ears, it was interesting to hear the progression of the tracks, even if the changes were minute. (I also happened to think the alternate mix of "Assassing" was much crisper.)

For all the words of praise about Fugazi, Marillion still sounded like they weren't entirely sure what they were trying to accomplish on this disc. Yes, the focus was better - but the overall picture was still a bit cloudy. Still, this is not a major setback for this disc, and it is better remembered for the marked improvement over their debut effort.

After the live set Reel To Real (which I'm still searching for), Marillion would return to the studio to make the album that quite possibly best defined the Fish era of the band, Misplaced Childhood... but that's another tale for another review.

Rating: B

User Rating: B



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