"Less is More" (Eagle Records; 2009)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

I'm familiar with Marillion in name and reputation only; before listening to "Less is More" I couldn't name a single Marillion song if my life depended on it, but I could tell you that they were one of the most respected prog rock bands ever. That's why I was so excited to be given the opportunity to listen to and review "Less is More."

I dove into the CD without a single moment of research. But, where I expected to find the daring and experimental rock of bands like Genesis and King Crimson, instead I found myself listening to a bare-bones acoustic CD. One track blended immediately into another. I was somewhat taken aback. Frankly, my first couple of listen-throughs of "Less is More" were kind of boring, despite the expectedly stunning talent of the musicians involved.

Then I went back and did a little research and I began to understand. Apparently, "Less is More" isn't a collection of brand new Marillion songs, but rather older songs by the band, re-fitted and re-recorded in an acoustic setting. I don't want to say that "Less is More" is Marillion unplugged -- it's much more than that -- but may give you an idea of what to expect here.

Armed with that information (and a re-examination of the oh-so-accurate title), I went back to the CD some months later and gave it another listen. Because I'm not familiar with the source material, most of "Less is More" still didn't jump out at me. But I seemed to understand it more, now knowing the direction the band was aiming for.

If you're as unfamiliar with Marillion as I was, I would recommend starting your exploration somewhere else in the band's considerable discography, and then moving back to this disc. Based on reviews I've read by fans of the band, "Less is More" is really something when you know the original material. And, don't get me wrong, it's not bad material without that knowledge. It just probably isn't what you'd expect.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2010 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Sep 2022 13:59:47 -0400.