For a Marillion fan, a new album isn’t just a release – it’s an event. And as far as events go, on an ascending scale from a co-workers 30 day alcohol-free chip celebration, to a close cousin’s Harry Potter themed wedding, to the birth of your new baby, FEAR is more of a birth. A birth of ideas in a world run dry of original thought.
Comprising of essentially 6 songs and clocking in at over an hour, FEAR, or Fuck Everyone and Run finds the band at first glance, at their most angry and cynical. But like all great art It’s not the artist’s emotions on the canvas, it’s the viewer’s – or in this case, the listener’s emotions reflected back like a mirror. In short, FEAR is a masterful piece of art in the truest sense of the word and the band’s strongest album in years.
In retrospect, the statement above is somewhat dismissive – the five songs are really 5 themes, connected and intertwined – woven like a tapestry depicting the New World Order. Now, as an American resident, it could be easy to connect the dots to the political system and process in the United States, but let’s put aside the hubris for just a moment and understand that right now the political climate of England and America is frighteningly similar. Possibly more so than it ever has been. When Steve Hogarth sings that
"our wide eyes aren’t naïve – they’re a product of a kind of exhaustion"
as he does in “Living in FEAR”, there’s a bond – a commonality in that statement between the ‘here’ and the ‘there’ that can’t be ignored.
Opening track El Dorado is the first such theme, comprising of five different parts, and begins with Long Shadowed Sun – a tune that lulls us into a false sense of security with the sound of birds and lovely guitar work from Steven Rothery and ending with the a deep foreboding of the changes on the horizon. The album continues through “The Leavers” (also comprising of five sub-songs), “White Paper”, “The New Kings” (a suite of four songs, and the most operatic of the bunch) and “Tomorrow’s New Country”. It’s a true accomplishment that Marillion are in their almost 40th year of existence and prove they can still deliver not only a great album – in and of itself a feat in a world of 99 cent single downloads, but an album of such quality and beauty - unlike so many of their peers delivering prog-by-numbers albums that are immediately forgotten. The symbiosis of Marillion over the years is truly unmatched – the five individuals comprising the band, Hogarth, Rothery, keyboardist Mark Kelly, Bassist Pete Trewavas and Drummer Ian Mosely form a single unit of craftsmanship that seemingly has no bounds and shows no signs of slowing down.