Nightman Listens To – BYAMPOD – Marbles Episode 1

Marbles (album) - Wikipedia

Greetings, Glancers! With all the excitement over Marillion’s new album, Paul and Sanja have been off the beaten path for a couple of months, but recently they found their way back to the straight and/or narrow to pick up the chronology once more. Regular Glancers will know I’ve already published two posts on Marbles – the third is written too – but this post is simple a smattering of my thoughts based on what Paul and Sanja have to say about the first few songs. Feel free to skip, as this will be even more stream of consciousness than usual.

That’s a sever looking H on the thumbnail – he looks like a Victorian era Schoolmaster about to rattle some knuckles.

The band think it’s a ‘male’ album’ In that case, it’s severely lacking in biceps and miniguns.

I never want to be bitten by a spider. Or touched by a spider. I’m not Australian. I’ve never been touched by an Australian.

This was the first album Adult Paul felt a relation to what the band was talking about.

I was in my last year of University in 2004. I was in a relationship, with a woman, and with drugs. Neither were serious, though they felt with it at the time. Mostly I was still hung up on the relationship which never happened from a few years earlier. I was also trying to get a band up and running, but as is the case with most creative outlets in my life, I can’t find anyone to come with me on the journey and therefore blame everyone else for my own laziness and failures.

I’m eternally interested by the writing and recording process – lyrics first, music first, or some mixture. It’s partly why Get Back was such a joy. It looks like for Marbles the music was there to serve the words.

Marbles really are dangerous – they’re so solid. You can choke on them, break almost anything with them.

Sanja was daunted by the prospect of getting to Marbles and her journey through the album has been challenging in terms of putting her thoughts to words. She’s also concerned about how she will move on from Marbles to the next album.

Marbles has been my favourite album so far – it seems to be their best album too. Why is it their best? Because everything I say is fact, bruh. It’s as I mentioned in another Marbles post – it feels like everything the band had been trying to do since day 1 finally came out, the stars aligned and so on. All the little things they tried simply work. 

On to The Invisible Man with Paul saying it’s probably his favourite Marillion song and Sanja drawing tribal/womb/heartbeat comparisons. The bit they’re talking about – the bit they (shock horror) play a clip of is just after the bit I mention in my first Marbles post – as soon as H says ‘Amsterdam’. It’s everything I love about Prog, and I suppose about Music.

I agree that the album doesn’t feel dated. I’d still class it as fairly recent… I suppose. Other pop hits from the time you could instantly place, an experienced Sound Engineer I imagine could place the album, but there are likely quite a few albums from the era which still feel modern. Has music moved on much sense then? I’m sure it has, but I don’t listen to enough modern stuff.

‘Choir Noir’ is not so hard to say in my accent. ‘Qui-er No-Arr’. What do you call a Klingon who hates noisy pirates, but can’t pronounce the letter ‘T’? ‘Qui-er No-Arr’ (Quieter! No Arggh!) These Funny Me Dos are hard.

What’s it all about? Sanja draws comparisons and differences between this and Hollow Man, with Paul seeing similarities with Beyond You. She sees it as a cry for help, with the overall theme being powerlessness. I like the idea of parents/ancestors watching their children/descendants from beyond – I like it from a fictional perspective and it makes for interesting narrative and imaginative ideas. I believe I alluded to this in my post, comparing it to What Dreams May Come. Paul’s interpretation is more on the romantic side – the powerlessness comes from wanting to be with someone when you can’t, or watching someone move on when you’re not ready to.

H’s interview sums all of these feelings up – it’s a song which has specific references, but is more concerned with the wider picture, those wider modern feelings of alienation heightened by the amount of data we have exposure to. We get intimate pictures of pain and destruction and can be little more than passive reactors – we can help, but does our help make a difference? Maybe we can give considerable support to one person or group or thing… but do we miss out on helping others? More than anything, this (for me) points to us as being decent human beings – we’re one species and we want to help each other. No other species has evolved to the state of being aware of such worldly widespread troubles and has the technology to both bare witness and potentially help, and to feel empathy for those troubles. At least as far as we know.

Don’t worry, team – my first Marbles post was only this song and Marbles I. There’s a lot to unpack in the song, and it’s wonderful to hear fans gush over it. Plus it’s nice that I like the song too. I suppose I’ll be doing a few more of these bonus posts. Go listen to BYAMPOD.

Tell it like it is!

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