Misplaced Childhood
February 14, 2018 10:45 PM   Subscribe

Hey, they released it this way intentionally, and here's what Marillion told us about each side of their 1985 prog-ish concept album Misplaced Childhood: Side One [20m40s]: Pseudo Silk Kimono, Kayleigh, Lavender, Bitter Suite: a. Brief Encounter, b. Lost Weekend, c. Blue Angel, d. Misplaced Rendevous, e. Windswept Thumb, Heart Of Lothian: a. Wide Boy, b. Curtain Call

Side Two [20m30s]: Waterhole (Expresso Bongo), Lords Of The Backstage, Blind Curve: a. Vocal Under A Bloodlight, b. Passing Strangeers, c. Mylo, d. Perimeter Walk, e. Threshold, Childhoods End?, White Feather
posted by hippybear (18 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Steve Rothery is one of those guitarists who get massively better with age. Loved the solo breaks in Bitter Suite. Loved even more the revisiting of Kayleigh they did in the 90’s.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 11:07 PM on February 14, 2018

Dropping in to mention that if you like this album, the 2-fer live album - the Thieving Magpie (La Gazza Ladra) is really fine - they could really play it live. And chiming the comment about Steve Rothery he's v. good.

I used to work with a MarillionHead (?) and he used to play the band alla time. One thing I noticed (esp on Thieving Magpie) are the little snippets/riffs or bits of lyrics from other prog bands - there's a real definite Van Der Graaf Generate homage in one of those tracks for example (specifics will come to me when I hit post).

Been a long time I've listened to any Marillion - may fire this LP up today - thanks hippybear.
posted by parki at 3:54 AM on February 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

I can never think about Marillion without thinking about drstein, whose Marillion fandom I used to mock (along with a lot of other things) when we met 23 years ago.

I wonder how many Kayleighs exist because of Marillion.
posted by elsietheeel at 4:22 AM on February 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

Did not have hippybear pegged as a Marillion fan.

Clutching at Straws is a better album IMO - the lyrics and themes are a little more adult (early Fish lyrics are really juvenile, looking back now), and the music is just... tighter? Less self-indulgent? Better? Some of that may be down to improvements in technology (the artificial-sounding 80s synths are mostly gone by this point) but I think the disintegration of the band did great things for their music.

Having said that, I do love the way Misplaced Childhood gets progressively darker and heavier, emotionally and musically, right up to that sunrise moment at the end of side 2 ("and it was morning, and I found myself mourning"). It's a really successful conceptual album, I think. It hangs together as a piece, except maybe Lavender.
posted by Leon at 4:53 AM on February 15, 2018 [2 favorites]

Oh I agree Leon - that transition ("...and it was morning...") is really really lovely.
posted by parki at 5:11 AM on February 15, 2018

I actually have a personal theory that the first 4 Marillion albums (Script For A Jester's Tear, Fugazi, Misplaced Childhood, Clutching At Straws) and the first Fish solo album (Vigil In A Wilderness Of Mirrors) all work together to form a mammoth concept album.
posted by hippybear at 6:34 AM on February 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

The first three albums are supposed to be a trilogy. Whether they successfully pulled that off, I don't know.

I can see it more clearly with Clutching (theme: success begets excess) and Vigil (theme: the band split up and fuck you all), if you assume the overarching concept is "what's going on in Torch/Fish's life right now". Especially as a lot of Vigil was already written by the time they split up (you can hear some demos on the second disc of the Clutching remaster).
posted by Leon at 6:57 AM on February 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

When we play the cocktail game "what was your first concert?", my first concert was Rush on their 1986 Power Windows tour.

Which is a lie - since my real first concert was Marillion, who opened for Rush that night.

I felt so bad for these guys, trying to play over the cacophony of 17,000 teenagers standing on their chairs yelling RUSH RUSH RUSH RUSH for half an hour.
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:53 AM on February 15, 2018

Oddly, their UK fans had a tendency to do the same thing to Marillion's support acts, who included Peter Hammill and Cardiacs (notoriously). Although Fish only asked them to support because he really liked them, so it wasn't justice, really. Ironically fitting in a way, though.
posted by Grangousier at 9:44 AM on February 15, 2018

"I'm a citizen of Legoland travelling incommunicado!" remains Fish's best line. I so wanted to say that to the customs agent the last time I crossed the border.

This record was de rigueur for all the sad young men in 1985/86. "Lavender" is my favorite cut off this record; I guess the only one I wholeheartedly like. The rest, IMO, is one half nice hooks and charming melodies and one half eye-rolling nonsense. It's hard not to like "Kayleigh" and at the same time even in 1985 the speaker seemed like an ass. Now I wonder if he ever sent Kayleigh a banjo. The latter part of "Childhood's End," when it suddenly becomes a Styx song is fun and "White Feather" is a nice Thatcher-era pop peace song. But mostly I've always felt like Misplaced Childhood is a cod-Genesis album at best and a cod-Pink Floyd album at worst.

since my real first concert was Marillion, who opened for Rush that night.

When I saw Rush on that tour, Blue Öyster Cult opened for them. What I remember most from that set is Eric Bloom doing wacky ninja moves—it was the Club Ninja album—in black silk pajamas.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:13 AM on February 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm on team "Clutching at Straws". Never listened to Fugazi for some reason. Nor any post-Marillion Fish.
posted by pharm at 2:16 PM on February 15, 2018

NB. I've always assumed that the washed out rocker in Iain Banks' "Espedair Street" is a thinly veiled Fish.
posted by pharm at 2:18 PM on February 15, 2018

Pharm, this might interest you. You should probably at least listen to The View from The Hill, which does rather cap his Marillion era.
posted by Leon at 2:44 PM on February 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

I love that album. I lost track of it for years - it was one of the ones that was stolen out of my car when I lost a head unit, an acoustic shelf I made myself and a large box of tapes) - and I forgot to replace it at the time. About 7 years ago I was searching for it in my bloated mp3 collection and realised I didn't have it any more.

Just a great album. Impossible to not turn it up when it is on in the car and shake the windows.
posted by Brockles at 7:23 PM on February 15, 2018

which does rather cap his Marillion era.

I'd always thought that Cliché was the actual denouement of The Main Character because he finally, actually, does write that love song that's he's been promising for SO long! Doesn't he basically promise it on 3 of the 4 Marillion albums?
posted by hippybear at 7:50 PM on February 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

here's what Marillion told us about each side

Can someone help me find this information? I'm not understanding the discogs.com link?
posted by Pig Tail Orchestra at 5:49 AM on February 16, 2018

That discogs entry is for a vinyl version of the album, but it isn't a completely documented track listing. The sub-sections to the tracks are listed in the lyrics printed on the inner sleeve, and are also are listed more obviously on later releases of the album. The wikipedia entry pulls all this together a bit more clearly.
posted by hippybear at 5:55 PM on February 16, 2018

having been a committed Gabriel era Genesis fan, I was very conscious of Marillion from the get-go, bought the first album when it was brand new, and it did next to nothing for me. They were a copycat band, and a decade late to the game at that. 1983 sounded like New Order to me (Blue Monday), The The, Violent Femmes, U2, Echo and the Bunnymen, Bauhaus ... not this second rate throwback stuff.

But then a couple of years later, a friend from the Genesis days pulled me aside and slipped me a cassette of Misplaced Childhood. "You should hear this," he said. "Why?" I said. "Because it's about people like us, who grew up loving that old stuff. Yeah, it still sounds like Genesis, but that's what it's about, so it works."

Whatever. I gave it a try. And it brought tears to my eyes, I ain't gonna lie. I played it a lot for a few weeks. I played it loud. It brought a whole era of my life back, all manner of unfinished (misplaced) business.

A few months later, Marillion came to town. They played Misplaced Childhood in its entirety ... and it wasn't that good. Something was missing. Maybe Fish was having an off night. Maybe Marillion just weren't a strong live act.

And that was that. Everything I've since heard from them hasn't really landed, and that concert did not inspire me to go back and revisit the previous albums. But Misplaced Childhood, that forty minutes of vinyl remains unique. I can think of no other stretch of music that takes me to the places it takes me. Thanks for the reminder.

And this is pretty darned fine: FISH - Return To Childhood 20th anniversary tour of misplaced childhood

(cued to the dark heart of side two, Perimeter, which I always imagined to be bad psychedelic experience, collapse of self)
posted by philip-random at 6:41 PM on February 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

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