Marillion: Sounds That Can’t Be Made

Prog stalwarts hold steady.

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Famously, Marillion’s self-financing model was cited by writer and social psychologist Malcolm Gladwell as the moment when a new proposition for the music industry began to emerge. He would be pleased to know that 17 albums into their career, the band are still bursting with ideas.

Take, for example, Pour My Love, one of the more low-key songs on this complex, often beautiful record. What begins as straightforward and sweetly sad is suddenly swept from minor to major. It would have been a lovely song anyway, but it’s this restless refusal to settle that has become Marillion’s hallmark, and it’s something that makes their records hard to review under the normal timescale because so often the detail reveals itself slowly, and impressions shift like shadows.

Sounds That Can’t Be Made has eight songs, but the shortest of them are six minutes long. The thunderous and atypical opener, Gaza, runs to 17; Montreal is 14; The Sky Above The Rain over 10; and all command attention with the range of their invention. Montreal is a road song, The Sky Above The Rain about a failing love affair. They drip with longing and regret, and no one delivers those emotions quite like Marillion.

As Gladwell noted, they are genuine originals.

Jon Hotten

Jon Hotten is an English author and journalist. He is best known for the books Muscle: A Writer's Trip Through a Sport with No Boundaries and The Years of the Locust. In June 2015 he published a novel, My Life And The Beautiful Music (Cape), based on his time in LA in the late 80s reporting on the heavy metal scene. He was a contributor to Kerrang! magazine from 1987–92 and currently contributes to Classic Rock. Hotten is the author of the popular cricket blog, The Old Batsman, and since February 2013 is a frequent contributor to The Cordon cricket blog at Cricinfo. His most recent book, Bat, Ball & Field, was published in 2022.