No Marillion records for 42 years, then like buses two come along together. Advancing to 1995’s Afraid Of Sunlight and my duck is broken listening to “new” vocalist Steve Hogarth. This is his fourth release with the band and is (so I’ve been told) this era’s best release.
It opens well with the up tempo Gazpacho, the quirky Cannibal Surf Babe and the ballad of Beautiful is, well, just beautiful.
Afraid Of Sunlight is a very polished album and much more grown up than the Marillion album I’d heard directly before this, but unlike Clutching At Straws which grabbed me immediately this just started to pass me by as it just seemed too pedestrian along it’s course. Some of the songs build up to a nice peak, but the vocal delivery doesn’t seem to match. I’ve listened to it twice now and it’s by no means a bad record, it just doesn’t have enough variation to it for me to enjoy it more. At one point I thought I was listening to a U2 record as Hogarth’s vocals in places sounded like Bono on some of U2’s more recent output.
On a personal note my family has a tie with the events that are portrayed within in Out of this World. Donald Campbell was a British land and water speed record breaker. On January 4th 1967 Campbell attempted to break the water speed record on Lake Coniston, Cumbria with his Bluebird K7 “rocket boat”. Unfortunately the boat got into trouble and eventually spun out of the water and broke up decapitating Campbell in the process. My dad was apparently one of the naval personnel there to help with the search for his body. The wreck of Bluebird and Donald’s body remained submerged on the floor of Coniston for another 34 years. Diver Bill Smith was inspired to look for the wreck of Bluebird after hearing Out of this World.