Marillion – Holidays In Eden [Deluxe Edition]

Marillion – Holidays In Eden [Deluxe Edition]

Parlophone/Warner have now almost completed their run of deluxe set reissues from Marillion’s original eight-album run with EMI; Holidays In Eden is the seventh and Season’s End will complete the series when it is released in 2023. Each of these releases has been beautifully packaged and is very reasonably priced when one considers the content and quality of the product. That is, of course, unless you attempt to get hold of one a couple of years after release. The printing of the boxes seems to be limited to just an initial run with a 1CD of the re-mix released around six months later, making scarce copies eye-wateringly expensive. A copy of 2017’s 5CD Misplaced Childhood box will now set you back about £200.

Steve Hogarth’s second album with the band suffered similar problems to Fish’s second Marillion effort, Fugazi. Pressure on the band to come up with new material for an album led to something of a creative block. Combine that with EMI looking to get the band back on Top of the Pops and Mike and the Mechanics producer Chris Neil being brought on board, and the result is something which felt somewhat disjointed. Having said that, even though Holidays in Eden lacks a holistic style, it is a really solid collection of well-written material.

It was about 1990 when I first became a proper Marillion fan, imbibing the delights of The Thieving Magpie and Fish’s Vigil in A Wilderness of Mirrors. After thoroughly acquainting myself with Script for A Jester’s Tear through to Clutching at Straws, I picked up a copy of Holidays in Eden before I’d had the chance to hear Season’s End, so it was my first Hogarth album. If EMI were hoping to make a few sales via the singles, then it certainly worked with me. Dry Land, from Hogarth’s earlier band How We Live, was enough on its own to have me shelling out for a copy of the album. Like Waiting to Happen which follows it in the running order, this is a song in which the gentle and understated verses build up to bold and majestic choruses.

Cover My Eyes was the album’s lead single and, whilst not troubling the top ten in the way Kayleigh and her immediate siblings did, it did make the top forty and did very well in the Netherlands. It is Marillion meets U2, without a doubt, but it’s very catchy, has a great guitar solo and must surely have satisfied EMI’s desire for radio-friendly singles. The pleasingly mellow No One Can and Dry Land, which also found themselves pushing into the lower reaches of the top forty, gave the label their three singles allowing the rest of the album to be a proggier affair.

Splintering Heart is suitably bombastic once we pass “not as much as this…”, and so too is the title track with its repeated ascending chord sequence. The Party is a track I’ve always loved and when I first heard it I was an angst-ridden sixth former so it absolutely chimed with my adolescent self. Now, as an angst-ridden middle-aged man, at a distance from this kind of party, the lyrics remind me of Fish’s poor naïve girl in the dancing beams of the Fidra lighthouse. The closing trilogy, which I didn’t know originated from a time when Fish was in the band, has never done much for me, though I really like the second half of 100 Nights.

One of the biggest questions for fans is likely to be how different the Stephen Taylor re-mix is from the original album, given the terrific job Bradfield and Mackintosh have done with the Fish albums. The sound is undoubtedly crisper, especially on the keyboards (the intro to The Party, for example), but it’s not as markedly different. I would say to anyone who hasn’t been buying these deluxe editions it is still well worth buying the 1CD versions of the Bradfield/Mackintosh remixes from the Fish era (the new mix of Script… is simply stunning) but this one is less essential.

As with the previous deluxe editions, the documentary is fascinating viewing. My overall impression is that, despite this being a first opportunity to work as a band, it still relied a lot on Hogarth/How We Live pieces and pre-Hogarth Marillion pieces. For all that, though, Holidays… is an album I always really enjoy hearing. With that in mind, the Hammersmith gig is a nice one to have. The set is almost entirely made up of Hogarth-era songs and gives us rare outings for tracks like A Collection and Dry Land. There are a few nice little touches to this set, like the way the band run Cover My Eyes into Lords of the Backstage. The Rockpalast gig too really adds value to this release.

The one problem I have with this latest Parlophone edition is the same as the one I had with the Fugazi release – the bonus material which made up CD two of the EMI remasters with B-sides and demos is only included on the Blu-ray. With Fugazi that meant not having Cinderella Search on CD. The Script… box, by contrast, dedicated a whole disc to an excellent remix of the Market Square Heroes EP. On Holidays in Eden this problem is even more pronounced. I personally think that Holidays… was, along with Clutching At Straws’ illuminating Vigil / Seasons End demos, the best of the EMI remasters. The reason for this is that there was a ton of extra material, not least the band’s cover of Rare Bird’s Sympathy which was their biggest hit of this period, reaching number 17. The acoustic version of Cover My Eyes doesn’t even feature.

All in all, I would still say this set is excellent value for money and worth getting hold of. I didn’t pick up Misplaced Childhood, Brave or Clutching At Straws because I didn’t feel like I was getting much I didn’t have. I have all the others since then and I’m kicking myself that I didn’t collect all of them. The CD books are really well packaged, are informative and have superb artwork. On top of that, there are extensive notes and lyrics in the books and a one-and-half hour documentary with the band and producer reflecting on the album. I may have misgivings about the B-sides and demos being on the Blu-ray on this one, but a full CD concert and a full Blu-ray concert of a different gig is really great value. Time to put on The Party, pop open a bottle of cider and pretend it’s 1992 again.

Disc 1: Holidays in Eden (2022 remix)

01. Splintering Heart (6:44)
02. Cover My Eyes (Pain & Heaven) (4:04)
03. The Party (5:37)
04. No One Can (4:45)
05. Holidays in Eden (5:23)
06. Dry Land (4:45)
07. Waiting to Happen (4:55)
08. This Town (3:19)
09. The Rake’s Progress (1:54)
10. 100 Nights (8:07)

Disc 2: Live in Hammersmith, 30th September 1991 (Pt.1)
01. Splintering Heart (6:55)
02. Garden Party (7:05)
03. Dry Land (4:40)
04. The King of Sunset Town (8:23)
05. The Party (6:07)
06. Easter (6:34)
07. The Space… (7:49)
08. Holloway Girl (4:03)
09. A Collection (3:14)
10. Waiting to Happen (5:08)

Disc 3: Live in Hammersmith, 30th September 1991 (Pt.2)
01. Cover My Eyes (Pain & Heaven) (3:55)
02. Lords of the Backstage (1:51)
03. Blind Curve (4:27)
04. The Uninvited Guest (4:06)
05. This Town (3:49)
06. The Rake’s Progress (2:15)
07. 100 Nights (4:46)
08. Slainte Mhath (4:44)
09. Holidays in Eden (5:11)
10. Hooks in You (3:15)
11. No One Can (4:52)
12. Berlin (8:17)
13. Kayleigh (3:53)
14. Incommunicado (5:10)

Blu-ray: Holidays in Eden (2022 Remix)
Blu-ray Audio Content

48/24 Stereo LPCM | DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (Stephen Taylor) | 48/24 5.1 LPCM

B-Sides & Bonus Tracks
01. Sympathy
02. How Can It Hurt
03. A Collection
04. Sympathy (Acoustic Version)
05. I Will Walk On Water (Alternative Mix)
06. Splintering Heart (Live at The Moles Club)
07. You Don’t Need Anyone (Moles Club Demo)
08. No One Can (Moles Club Demo)
09. The Party (Moles Club Demo)
10. This Town (Moles Club Demo)
11. Waiting To Happen (Moles Club Demo)
12. Eric
13. The Epic (Fairground) (Mushroom Farm Demo)

Blu-ray Video Content
Pain and Heaven Film (circa 85:00)
The Story of Holidays in Eden (Documentary)
Cover My Eyes (Promo Video)
No One Can (Promo Video)
Dry Land (Promo Video)
This Town (Demo – Stanbridge Studios)

Rockpalast In Concert (full concert for German TV)
01. Splintering Heart
02. Cover My Eyes (Pain And Heaven)
03. Slàinte Mhath
04. The Uninvited Guest
05. The Party
06. Easter
07. No One Can
08. This Town
09. The Rake’s Progress
10. Kayleigh
11. The King Of Sunset Town
12. Holidays In Eden
13. Hooks In You
14. Freaks
15. Incommunicado
16. Garden Party
17. Sugar Mice
18. Script For A Jester’s Tear

Steve Hogarth – Vocals, Additional Keyboards, Guitars
Mark Kelly – Keyboards, Programming, Backing Vocals
Ian Mosley – Drums, Percussion
Steve Rothery – Guitars
Pete Trewavas – Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals

Record Label: Parlophone
Country of Origin: U.K.
Date of Release: 16th September 2022

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