Exposé Online banner

Marillion — This Strange Engine
(Madfish SMACD981X, 1997/2012, 2CD)

by Dan Casey, Published 1997-10-01

This Strange Engine Cover art

Right from the beginning you will realize this is not the same Marillion we've heard on the previous two albums. "Man of a Thousand Faces" opens with a simple three-chord acoustic guitar pattern and a fairly straight-forward vocal line. And that's it. The basic philosophy on most of this album is a stripped-down, back-to-basics approach that generally results in a lot of wispy, light, melodic tunes that lack all of the post-production polish and ambience of their last two albums, for better or for worse. The bluesy "One Fine Day" and the salsa / island music of "Hope for the Future" mark the two out of eight duff tracks, while the beautiful "Estonia" and the 16-minute title track are the obvious highlights. In fact, the last passage of "This Strange Engine" is among the very best of the Hogarth-era Marillion. Building from almost nothing, they crescendo into a powerful climax while Hogie does some very impressive vocal gymnastics. Mark Kelly dominates most of the album with some very impressive soloing throughout, while Rothery mostly just sits back on his butt and strums away on the acoustic guitar. He does unload one cool solo on "This Strange Engine" but don't expect much more out of him. Overall, not their best, but not their worst either. There is enough strength here to warrant a recommendation, especially for the long-time fans.


Filed under: Reissues, Issue 13, 2012 releases, 1997 recordings

Related artist(s): Marillion, Steve Hogarth

Latest news

2021-01-18
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more

2020-12-09
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Tim Bowness / Samuel Smiles - World of Bright Futures – Vocalist Tim Bowness (of No-Man) formed Samuel Smiles back in the early 1990s with Michael Bearpark (guitar, programming) as an exercise in “ambient folk” music. For this, their first...  (2000) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues