Itís very hard for me to review an album by Marillion, because they are my all-time favourite band. Yet, itís only fair that I do and I hope I can be objective as well. What is hard, though, is separating the album from the live shows that Marillion performed to support this new release on the recently completed L=M tour. The gigs I attended were nothing short of incredible! Anyway, this review is just about the album Ė no more, no less.
I received Less Is More only a few days before the first Dutch concert. For me this was rather late, because normally a new Marillion-album takes some time to assimilate. Although it was an acoustic album, I expected a lot of it. After all, this was Marillion, and one thing I know about this band is to expect the unexpected! I prepared myself with candlelight and wine, and within the first few notes, the mood was set. Marillion, stripped to the bone, as authentic as could be, so fragile and intimate. I stayed off the wine in the end, because I wanted to listen concentrated, especially for Interior Lulu, the second song, which is very special to me. I wondered how much of its beauty would be kept in this acoustic version. With high expectations, I began to listen...
... and Iím still listening! With every spin I have different feelings, different thoughts. I honestly donít know if people can appreciate this music without knowing the original songs. I guess they can, but the impact surely cannot be the same, theyíre just songs for them. To me and many other Marillion-fans, these acoustic versions deliver yet another dimension to the music I love so dearly. What illustrates this is the fact that Itís Not My Fault, the only new song on the album, is also the worst. This is not Marillion, but Steve Hogarth. I mean no offense, but this song has no deeper meaning than the simple statement of its title. All the other songs can be analyzed, talked about, loved, hated, whatever, but they affect you or touch you deep inside.
A highlight for me is Steve Rotheryís guitar solo at the end of Quartz. Itís just sublime. Coming back to Interior Lulu, the original version of this song is so special to me because of its sheer power. This acoustic version couldnít be more gentle and yet the essential beauty of the song is maintained. The old goosebumps make way for new ones. How is that possible? Only God knows or perhaps Steve Rothery is GodÖ
**** Janke Rijpkema (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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