marillion    brave
Steve Hogarth
voice
Ian Mosley
drums
Mark Kelly
keyboards
Steve Rothery
guitars
Pete Trewavas
bass
1994
The Album that saved my life.

This is quite simply the greatest album EVER made.

No other words for it. It is perfection. Not just my view, it's a fact. Yet have any of you heard it, or even heard of it. Well that is the idea of Monster Music. This album should be in everyone's collection. And for so many reasons..........

Back in 1993, Marillion were in the early stages of writing the next studio album. A few tracks were coming together, and the feeling for the album was coming together. The main ideas at this time were songs about people's inablility to get used to anything. While writing one of these songs, Steve Hogarth remembered a radio report he had heard a few years ago. It was on Bristol Radio and it was a police appeal. They were appealing for information on a young girl who had been picked up by them on the Severn Bridge. The Police had been unable to get the girl to talk, and at one stage thought her to be deaf and dumb. In the end it turned out that she was in fact just in a state of deep depression. She had somehow ended up there from her home in Devon. And she had no idea how.
That police appeal became the starting point for the album. The band thought it was a great starting point for a story which would become a fictional documentary of her life and what had led her to be at the bridge. Don't let this put you off, because this lead to the most amazing album ever made.
The album having become more than just a few songs put together, took 15 months to write and record.

As for the album itself, well it has to be heard to believed. The background and idea of it makes it sound quite a turn off. Concept albums are never looked at with a favourable eye. But what you have to do is forget everything you think about concept albums and open your mind. The album has to be listened to in one go. It's not an album that you can just put the odd track on from. Although there were two singles from it.

The album starts on the bridge, where the girl is found, then you are taken through her life until you are back at the bridge. Dispite dealing with her emotions and troubles you are never told what actually happened to her. Hogath has said he has left clues in the lyrics but you are left to make your own mind up.
The lyrics and music are a work of genius. Not being what you would call a mainstream album it never got the attention it should have.
The lyrics are strong and you can tell that they are also on a very personal level for Hogarth. The highlight being "The Great Escape", bringing the album to an emotional ending. The band added Made Again so as to end on a less emotional note. "Goodbye to all that" is the centre part of the album full of some amazing music mixed with the brilliant voice of Hogarth. The music alone helps you feel every emotion brought across.
The title track "Brave" also conbines voice and music to give you an amazingly atmospheric track.

The subject and layout of this album as I have said before is enough to make anyone think more than twice about listening to it let alone spending money on it. But if you are truly into music you have to listen to rather than throw away rubbish then you can not miss this. It's an album that at some stage during it, will hit everyone either lyrically or musically. Somewhere in this album there is a part everyone can relate to. Lyrics so true you will feel they were written about you. It takes you on a real journey like no other album could. It drags you into the life of the girl, and dispite the somewhat depressing subject you are to busy being thrown around with the emotion to notice. This is the album of a band doing something different. Ignoring the rules, wanting to make people feel something with their music rather than reeling out all to familiar love songs. These are tracks of real feeling. From the heart. All heavy stuff it may sound but isn't that what music is supposed to be about? Make us feel things only music can?
Unless you have no emotion at all you just have to let this album amaze you.
It saved my life.

As it says in the sleeve notes......

Play it loud with the lights off