(All Album Reviews by Chuck AzEee!)
More than any other progressive rock band, Marillion has been often ridiculed as a derivative of the many bands that came before them, most ballyhooed for being an eighties version of the great early seventies version of Genesis. That said, Marillion, had some similarities towards Genesis, like the lead singer/lyricist Fish, whom could pass for a young Peter Gabriel. But after that very few similarities were between both bands, as Marillion had a more harder edge. Guitarist Steve Rothery had more of a lead presence than Steve Hackett ever was afforded in his tenure with Genesis. Mark Kelly's ambient keyboarding was more of a cross between Peter Bardens and Rick Wright. Peter Trewavas musically is very similar to Mike Rutherford, as for Pete deploys all the tricks of the trade that Mike used, sans the 12 String guitar. Mick Pointer's (who has gotten supremely better since then) awful drumming, well umm, was one of the reasons he only lasted one album with the band.
With all of that out of the way, Script For A Jester's Tear, while far from their best, was the first in a trilogy of albums that had lyricist/singer Fish focusing on his main character obsession with self destruction. The subject matters are more descriptive and darker than anything Peter Gabriel has ever written, sadly while being highly original, drawing comparisons to prog's master of doom, Peter Hammill.
The original version of Script For A Jester's Tear only feature six songs. U.K. singles chart "Garden Party", but the band's live show was another thing of legend as the band was carving their niche with then non-album tracks. U.K. single "Market Square Heroes" which has a brief showing as a radio bit before the phenomenal "Forgotten Sons" track, and the great live anthem "Grendel" which has a curious sounding "Apocalypse 9/8" like ending, that ticks off many of Genesis fans.
Although this is not Marillion's greatest album, due some growing pains, the band triumphs throughout, and along with other acts of the time: Pendragon, Pallas, Twelfth Night and IQ, the new British neo-progressive rock boon has begun, and Scipt For A Jester's Tear is where Mariillion begins to spawn a legion of imitators and find their own style along the way.
Album Rating: Four and a Half
(All Album Reviews by jethro fish)
The debut album from the leader's of the so-called neo-prog movement of the 80's. Marillion suffered greatly at this time from the never-ending comparisons to Genesis and I don't think anyone can deny that there are similarities. However, I don't think that they are as apparent as some would claim. The biggest problem, I think, lies in the early, non-album track of "Grendel" where the similarities are undisputable. On the album there is a clear presence of 80's New Wave-influences in the music, especially in Pete Trewavas bass work. The overall feeling to the sound is also much darker than Genesis and the lyrics are firmly set in the present far from "fairy-land".
It's very apparent that this is the first outing from the band. They are still sonically searching for their own voice and there is a sense of wanting to achieve almost too much at times.
On the other hand, this is a big part of the albums charm and these things make the album almost more appealing to me personally. One can detect a strong will to break the musical mould that was the 80's without sounding dated and still carry on the legacy of their 70's heroes. I think they pull it off better than any of their pears of the time (IQ, Pendragon, Pallas, Twelfth Night).
The most outstanding tracks on this album is definitely the title track "Script for a jester's tear", "Garden Party", where Fish hits his lyrical peak, and "Forgotten Sons".
The angst-ladden, emotional and desperate vocals of Fish (Too much so according to some, I love them though), the adventurous and marvelous keyboards of Mark Kelly, the superb and varied guitar landscapes of Steve Rothery and the often underrated and intricate bass playing of Pete Trewavas all became trademarks of Fish-era Marillion. Unfortunately Mick Pointers drumming was not at all at par with the others at this time. Luckily he has shaped up a great deal in Arena where he keeps the pace nowadays.
This is not Marillion's finest album but it's a wonderful debut filled with interesting and lovely music and lyrics.
My rating: 4 out of 5