Clutching At Straws [Remastered] (CD)


Marillion

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Amoeba Review

Michael Keefe 06/15/2010

Clutching at Straws is British art rock band Marillion's fourth studio album and their finale with original lead singer Fish, who parted with the band one year later. The Scotsman's drinking has been cited as one of the issues that lead to the split, so it's fitting that Clutching at Straws' lyrics are mostly centered around alcohol. Musically, the group's four other members (guitarist Steve Rothery, bassist Pete Tewavas, keyboardist Mark Kelly, and drummer Ian Mosley), continued to move away from their neo-progressive rock beginnings, when the band were often pegged as Genesis clones. Here, Marillion tap into The Who's grandiose rock riffing and tales of everymen who are heroes and, more often, heroic failures. The LP's opening trio of tracks – with the dynamic single "Warm Wet Circles" as its centerpiece – flows beautifully together, painting a portrait of destitution and love spoiled by liquor. In the slow-burning "Torch Song," Fish's protagonist finds "a strange fascination with a liquid fixation," while the title of the following cut, "Slàinte Mhath," is a Gaelic toast. At the emotional heart of the album is "Sugar Mice," a ballad of an out-of-work absentee father addressing his kids from a barstool in Milwaukee. The LP's biggest single (UK #6), however, is "Incommunicado," a propulsive, hooky rocker about the perils of fame, including "an allergy to Perrier, daylight, and responsibility." The excellent Clutching at Straws hit #2 in Britain and dented the US charts (#103 on Billboard); a commercial and artistic success exceeded only by its magnificent predecessor, Misplaced Childhood.



Track Listing



Disc 1 Titles
Artist
Length
1.
Hotel Hobbies
Marillion 03:35
2.
Warm Wet Circles
Marillion 04:26
3.
That Time of the Night (The Short Straw)
Marillion 06:00
4.
Going Under
Marillion 02:48
5.
Just for the Record
Marillion 03:09
6.
White Russian
Marillion 06:28
7.
Incommunicado
Marillion 05:17
8.
Torch Song
Marillion 04:05
9.
Slàinte Mhath
Marillion 04:45
10.
Sugar Mice
Marillion 05:47
11.
The Last Straw/Happy Ending
Marillion 05:58
12.
Incommunicado [Alternative Version]
Marillion 05:57
13.
Tux On
Marillion 05:13
14.
Going Under [Extended Version]
Marillion 02:48
15.
Beaujolais Day
Marillion 04:51
16.
Story from a Thin Wall
Marillion 06:47
17.
Shadows on the Barley
Marillion 02:07
18.
Sunset Hill
Marillion 04:21
19.
Tic-Tac-Toe
Marillion 02:59
20.
Voice in the Crowd
Marillion 03:29
21.
Exile on Princes Street
Marillion 05:29
22.
White Russian [Demo]
Marillion 06:15
23.
Sugar Mice in the Rain [Demo]
Marillion 05:54

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