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

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Gavin Harrison - Sanity and Gravity – With Sanity and Gravity UK session drummer Gavin Harrison steps up to the lead role with his very first album. Harrison is known for accompanying many divergent artists such as Iggy Pop, Level 42,...  (2001) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues