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NEW KIDS IN TOWN

Fish 'N' Ambition

March 09, 1986|CRAIG LEE

Band: Marillion.

Personnel: Fish, vocals; Mark Kelly, keyboards; Peter Trewavas, bass; Steve Rotherey, guitar; Ian Mosely, drums.

History: Fish, a Scottish woodcutter-turned-vocalist, formed Marillion (the name comes from a Tolkien novel) in 1978. Joining forces with ex-Steve Hackett drummer Mosely, Kelly, Trewavas and Rotherey, Fish and Marillion quickly became the darlings of die-hard English progressive rock fans. The ever-ambitious group planned its first album, "Script for a Jester's Tear," as part of a trilogy. Released in March, 1983, the record entered the UK charts at No. 7 and contained three hit singles. Marillion's second album, "Fugazi" (a Vietnamese word for "chaos and disorder") entered the UK Top 10 in May, 1984. The English music paper Sounds voted Marillion the best band of both 1983 and 1984. The group's latest album (and the final part of the trilogy), "Misplaced Childhood," debuted at No. 1 on the UK charts and spawned a Top 5 hit, "Kayleigh." The group, on Capitol Records in America, recently released an EP, "Brief Encounter."

Sound: Do you miss Genesis? Early Pink Floyd? King Crimson? Then here's the band for you. Marillion's pop-and-circumstance is so filled with ornate, theatrical touches that it's almost as if the new-wave movement never happened. Song cycles, phantasmagoric metaphors and A-R-T come sweeping in on waves of portentous sound, with ringing guitars and majestic keyboards boosting Fish's Peter Gabriel-like vocals. As you might expect, this is serious stuff. It's not all grand technique though: Marillion displays its emotional side on earnest romantic pleas like "Kayleigh." But overall, Marillion proves that progressive rock bands never die: they just bombast away.

Shows: The Roxy, Saturday and next Sunday.

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