Sunday, November 20, 2005

Marillion - Misplaced Childhood (1985)

Misplaced Childhood is one of those albums that, if you grew up on the wrong side of the big pond, you might have missed in the cocaine-powered perpetual motion haze of the eighties.

The story of the writing and recording of the album is a Lewis Carroll-esque fairy tale which is highly detailed in the CD sleeve of the new 2 CD 24 bit re-mastered version of this 1985 gem. After receiving a letter from an old girlfriend with a tab of acid and the not-so-subtle suggestion to ingest the envelope’s contents, the cover art and many of the lyrics were inspired during the subsequent acid trip taken by then lead singer, Fish (a.k.a. Derek Dick).

For those of you who did miss it the first time around, this concept album focuses on a loss of innocence or, as the album title suggests, a “misplaced childhood.” Fish has a flair for imagery, it’s his trademark and makes his lyrics very distinct. This album displays him in true form:

Huddled in the safety of a pseudo-silk kimono
Wearing bracelets of smoke, naked of understanding
Nicotine smears, long, long dried tears, invisible tears - from Pseudo-Silk Kimono

Do you remember chalk hearts melting on a playground wall
Do you remember dawn escapes from the moon washed college halls
Do you remember the cherry blossoms in the market square
Do you remember I thought it was confetti in your hair - from Kayleigh

I was walking in the park dreaming of a spark
When I heard the sprinklers whisper
Shimmer in the haze of summer lawns
Then I heard the children sing
They were running through the rainbows
They were singing a song for you
Well it seemed to be a song for you
The one I wanted to write for you - from Lavender

Fish is able to accomplish in words what many artists try and fail to accomplish with paintings and drawings—he paints lush and vivid pictures on the blank canvas of the mind’s imagination. Coupled with the exceptional musicianship of Steve Rothery, Pete Trewavas, and Mark Kelly this album makes a strong musical and lyrical statement from start to finish.

This re-release makes the package even sweeter by the 24 bit re-mastering, copious liner notes featuring lyrics, stories, and full album credits. Putting an exclamation mark on the re-release is the second disc containing rarities, demos, and alternate mixes.

So close your eyes, pop in disc one, and let Fish’s lyrics take your imagination on a wonderful journey, and maybe you too will find your own “misplaced childhood.”


Jeff said...

I agree with everything you said in the review. The re-release sounds great with all of the background information. The vinyl only contains the lyrics, kind of upsetting after reading this.

Perplexio said...

Jeff: this is an excellent remaster. These guys really know how to treat their fans.