EMI – EMD 1002
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
pressed in: UK
Date: Jun 1987
Genre:Rock, Prog Rock
embroidered, embossed, raised cover
Hotel Hobbies 3:37
Warm Wet Circles 4:23
That Time Of The Night (The Short Straw) 5:56
Just For The Record 3:08
White Russian 6:26
Torch Song 4:05
Slainte Mhath 4:40
Sugar Mice 5:44
The Last Straw: Happy Ending 5:48
Clutching at Straws is the fourth studio album by progressive rock band Marillion, and is a concept album. Released in 1987, it was the last album with lead singer Fish who left the band in 1988, spent 15 weeks on the UK album chart, it still reached number two (the second highest chart placing for a Marillion album) and it is considered to be among the best work of Marillion “”Fish era”” by many fans and critics, and also Fish himself, as he has stated in several interviews.
The character of Torch (supposedly a descendent of the Jester from earlier album sleeves) is a 29 year old out-of-work man whose life is a mess. He seeks comfort mostly in alcohol to numb himself. He is trying, but failing, to forget what lies at his feet a failed marriage, being a deadbeat father, and his lack of commercial success as a singer in a band. As he gets drunk, he also writes about his surroundings and his laments. Since Torch has no other real outlet at his disposal, he ends up in bars, hotel rooms, and on the road, screaming and drunk, thus, he is described as beyond redemption or hope.
Marillion took a break after their tour in support of the album (with Fish eventually quitting) after it was released. The song “”Incommunicado”” describes the pitfalls of the business, and how pressures in real life exerted by the band US label Capitol Records were crushing in from outside for them to either succeed or get dropped by the company, which would happen to Marillion anyways a few years later.
The front and back covers of the album describe Fish inspiration for the album lyrics as well as some of his heroes. There are allusions to them throughout the album. The setting is in a British pub (the Bakers Arms in Colchester) and the people represented are the following:
On the front from left to right: Robert Burns, Dylan Thomas, Truman Capote and Lenny Bruce
On the back from left to right: John Lennon, James Dean and Jack Kerouac
Great review, by someone who is English, and loves Prog music, so…… :
Short review, less than 27 seconds: