Assassing

REVIEW: Marillion – Fugazi (2 CD remastered edition)

MARILLION – Fugazi (1998 EMI 2 CD edition, album originally released 1984)

Fugazi: Military slang meaning “fucked up situation”, coined during the Vietnam war.

Or: The making of Marillion’s second album.

After rolling through a couple drummers including Jonathan Mover, Marillion finally settled on Ian Mosely, the British veteran who is still in the band today. They settled in to record the “difficult” second album, which was dubbed Fugazi. It is a challenging listen, probably the most challenging of the original four. As such it tends to fall by the wayside today, despite the inclusion of the excellent single “Assassing”.

“I am the assassin, with tongue forged in eloquence. I am the assassin, providing your nemesis.”

It was a pointed statement at the ex-drummer Mick Pointer, from his former friend, lead vocalist Fish.

Lyrically, Fugazi represents the very best of Marillion of any era.  Both “Jigsaw” and the included B-side track “Cinderella Search” contain lyrics of great depth, beauty, emotion, and layers upon layers of interpretation. I like Fish’s use of homonyms, such as “Swam through the nicotine seize”.

Musically, this is a dense album that takes multiple listens to appreciate. Side one of the original album was catchier, with the two singles (“Punch & Judy” being the second) and the lullaby-like “Jigsaw”. Side two was more challenging, with longer heavier songs: “She Chameleon” and “Incubus” are good examples. Incidentally, Fish considered “Incubus” to be his greatest lyrical achievement, once again using homonyms. “I, the mote in your eye.”

The bonus disc contains the stellar B-side “Cinderella Search”, a song that goes through multiple sections before culminating with its powerful ending. “I always use the cue sheets but never the nets, never the nets, nevertheless.” Other B-sides include a remix of “Assassing” and the re-recorded version of “Three Boats Down From The Candy”. (I prefer the original.) This disc is rounded out by four demos of some of the more challenging songs.

The cover art is loaded with brilliance courtesy of Mark Wilkinson.  He put just as much thought into the art as Fish did into the lyrics.  Wilkinson and the band provide enlightening liner notes. You’ll want to make sure you read them. Did Mark Kelly really see a ghost? Find out inside.

5/5 stars

Fugazi is expected to be upgraded to a multidisc deluxe edition including 5.1 mix this summer- 2021.