Marillion’s 18th studio album – ‘F.E.A.R. (Fuck Everyone And Run) – was released on September 23rd, and once again the band deliver impressive music with a message. Review and photos by Tim Darbyshire.
With just 6 tracks spanning the 68-minute cd, the controversially titled ‘Fuck Everyone And Run’ is an honest, if at times depressing insight into Steve Hogarth’s current world view. Change is coming, not for the better, and we have brought it on ourselves.
It’s best to let the Marillion front man describe the album’s main themes: ”This title is adopted not in anger or with any intention to shock. It is adopted and sung (in the song “New Kings”) tenderly, in sadness and resignation inspired by an England, and a world, which increasingly functions on an “Every man for himself” philosophy. I won’t bore you with examples, they’re all over the newspapers every day. There’s a sense of foreboding that permeates much of this record. I have a feeling that we’re approaching some kind of sea-change in the world – an irreversible political, financial, humanitarian and environmental storm. I hope that I’m wrong. I hope that my FEAR of what “seems” to be approaching is just that, and not FEAR of what “is” actually about to happen.”
Three mammoth tracks account for most of the album; the five part ‘El Dorado’ kicks off proceedings and clocks in at over 16 minutes long, ‘The Leavers’ also consists of five parts and is over 19 minutes in length and ‘The New Kings’ is over 16 minutes long spread over four sections. The multi-sectioned suites can be attributed to the band’s working methodology. The band jam for weeks and studio engineer Mike Hunter extracts the highlights after endless hours of sifting through the music. Very much in the style of a committee, the band then rank these snippets and further develop the ideas they find promising.
Like all Marillion output, the listener really needs to dedicate the time to listen to the album a few times. Only after the fourth or fifth listen did it all start to click into place. Full of melody throughout, ‘FEAR’ finds guitarist Steve Rothery’s evocative solos and keyboard player Mark Kelly’s lead lines share the limelight with Steve Hogarth’s vocals. Underpinning everything as usual is the reliable rhythm section of Pete Trewavas (bass) and Ian Mosley (drums).
‘El Dorado’ begins in an acoustic pastoral English style and is a lament at the disillusion felt by many people in Britain today, hence the lyric “We’re not green, we’re just pleasant.” Occasionally reminiscent of Pink Floyd, the instrumental passages are rich and complex. ‘Living in FEAR’ is the most instantly accessible song on the album with its catchy chorus a kind of antidote to the seriousness of the rest of the material. ‘The Leavers’ would have to be my personal favourite on the album, a song which deals with the transient nature of many people in and around the touring world of rock musicians. The shorter ‘White Paper’ deals with the inescapable fact that we are all getting older, before ‘The New Kings’ sees Hogarth attacking the corrupt, self-serving elites (bankers, corporations etc) who ‘Fuck Everyone And Run’ – as in the banking collapse of 2008. The coda ‘Tomorrow’s New Country’ brings things to a gentle end.
Marillion of course have been doing things their own way for a long time now, free of any record company interference. Once again crowd-funded (this time via Pledge Music), ‘FEAR’ draws from a wide colour of sounds, textures and emotions. It’s more consistent than its predecessor (2013’s ‘Sounds That Can’t Be Made’) and could even rival some of their strongest albums, 2004’s ‘Marbles’ or 1994’s ‘Brave’.
Click here to read my review of Marillion’s recent concert at Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall.
Steve ‘H’ Hogarth
F.E.A.R. Track Listing:
1.El Dorado (I) Long-Shadowed Sun
El Dorado (II) The Gold
El Dorado (III) Demolished Lives
El Dorado (IV) F E A R
El Dorado (V) The Grandchildren of Apes
2.Living in F E A R
3.The Leavers (I) Wake Up In Music
The Leavers (II) The Remainers
The Leavers (III) Vapour Trails in the Sky
The Leavers (IV) The Jumble of Days
The Leavers (V) One Tonight
5.The New Kings (I) F*** Everyone and Run
The New Kings (II) Russia’s Locked Doors
The New Kings (III) A Scary Sky
The New Kings (IV) Why is Nothing Ever True?
6.Tomorrow’s New Country