For 30 years Marillion have been proving their new album title wrong, they have surely made every musical note perspire, hum like an angel and make grown men quiver at the knees with ease of their performances. Now the band that some critics have spent their life rubbishing and others extolling the virtues of have released their new album; the exceptional Sounds That Can’t Be Made and like 2004’s Marbles it is an album of genius and sheer quality.
Marbles was always going to be a tough act to follow and can be looked upon as possibly the greatest Marillion album since 1989 and the seminal moment where Steve Hogarth took over the mantle as lead vocalist. Three albums have passed since Marbles was unleashed and from the moment the beginning of the opening track of Gaza starts, the feeling of crushing brilliance returns as quickly as a progressive rock keyboard solo.
This is the band’s 17th studio album and in a way it sees the band return to a more natural state, more fluid and with a couple of lengthy songs thrown in for good measure for the legions of fans to get their teeth into. The shorter songs that the five musicians, Ian Mosley, Steve Rothery, Pete Trewavas, Mark Kelly and Steve Hogarth have produced over the years have been, in some cases, the absolute stand out and epitome of classic music and playing ability. Songs such as Easter, No One Can and Genie are amongst the very best the band have written and on this new album they add to this collection of prodigious tunes with songs such as Power and Invisible Ink.
It is though in the more lengthy songs where the band shows why they are much loved by their seemingly limitless following. Gaza, The Sky Above The Rain and the diary like Montreal all shine because the five musicians are able to be boundless in their ability, to strive for the ultimate expression and whilst this may sit uncomfortably with some, it not only works it adds to the mystique of the band. Never ones to pander to the fickle nature of fashion, nor to let feelings go unsaid, Marillion have always been forthright in that music and their fans comes first. Sounds That Can’t Be Made adds to this and should be viewed as one of the top four albums of their long career.
Ian D. Hall