Originally posted to the Freaks mailing list:

F-ing Superb!

A Legacy is brilliant opener stuff. Great lyrics. Absolutely adore the intro/outro. Some great guitar. Classic Marillion for '99.

Deserve - This is so, so, so good. Dunno if it's the Lurhstaap primer I've had but it hits just the right spot. Great pop-rock. Sounds a bit light, production-wise, after the opener (listen to the depth of the sparse ending of A Legacy and tell me it's not fuller than the full-on first bars of Deserve).

Go! - Simply Beautiful.

Rich - I can even accept the second line now - sort of one of those annoying things you can't get out of your head - pity it won't see the light of day as a single. The production isn't as lightweight as I remembered. May not be what many want but it succeeds in doing what it set out to do far better than TC or 3MB, which are both far better songs per se.

Enlightened - Possibly the best of the shorter tracks. That distinctive natural Marillion beauty again. Great lyrics too. Nuff said.

BiBR - I'm getting quite into this actually. Quirky, particularly the Counterparts-stylee guitar breaks.

Tumble Down The Years - If you hate HiE, you'll detest this, won't you?! I think it's a good tune with good lyrics but the production's a tad too lightweight.

Interior Lulu - What can I say. Stunning. Showcases the band's ability to create such perfect soundscapes out of seeming over-indulgence. Some cracking Rothers guitar later on. Made for h's voice - well it would be! Lyrics are deep but accessible - love the self-reference in such a self-referring whole. Haunting 'lately I can stand' section is something M are in a very small club in being able to carry off to such effect.

House - This aches in a marvellous manner! - The bass drum sound, positioning and strength is particularly wonderful, with much of the mid-range instrumentation swirling around it (especially early on) and some great Trawavas bass. Again, h's voice is superb and the lyrics cut deep. The trumpet is class. Doesn't feel anything like 10 mins.

This is certainly the son of Radiation - Rothers has certainly reaped the benefit of the effort he evidently put into differing styles on R10 (even if some will bemoan that) and the experimentation is still ever-present. Someone said that none of the band shined on the album - I can't agree. To continue with the Rothery example, the diversity of his playing (akin to the better outings of Alex Lifeson) is excellent, but never displays the occasional hesitancy of some of R10. The album also seems to draw some of its inspiration from the simpler song style of TSE and yet more influence is felt of the feel of AoS. In fact, I think it's the all-pervading logical flows and soundscapes that remind me most of that particular work of genius. Musically then I love it.

Lyrically I think it's also right on the button - very succinct in the usual h and H style but with a higher than average line-by-line hit rate. Having not heard it for five weeks I can also attest to it's memorability - could still remember so much, after only two previous listens.

Production-wise, the Steve (sorry, Steven!) Wilson tracks are sublime in many places, as is House. The Nick Davis stuff isn't as 'limp by comparison' as I remember and is, in fact, not bad at all.

Artwork. Love it. Fortunately I didn't spoil it by sending in a picture!

Overall - like I say, f-ing superb. Kind of The Wedding Album (one of my non-M nineties faves) played by a better band.

Cannibal Surf Boy
"Look on the Bright Side"

P.S. Oh, and it's great to sing along to as well!

NP: Hang on, House has just finished - I've just got to hit the play button again...