Marillion - Holidays In Eden

Marillion – Holidays In Eden

87 / 100

Marillion’s second album featuring Steve Hogarth was greeted with indifference by many. ‘Holidays In Eden’ was different. After one listen, it was very obvious to most that it was Steve Hogarth’s album.

Written by: King Of Sunset Town

ARTIST: Marillion
ALBUM: Holidays In Eden
SERIAL: CDP 7 96822 2
YEAR: 1991
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: Steve Hogarth – vocals * Steve Rothery – guitars * Pete Trewavas – bass * Mark Kelly – keyboards * Ian Mosley – drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Splintering Heart * 02 Cover My Eyes * 03 The Party * 04 No One Can * 05 Holidays In Eden * 06 Dry Land * 07 Waiting To Happen * 08 This Town * 09 The Rakes Progress * 10 100 Nights



Marillion’s second album featuring Steve Hogarth was greeted with indifference by many. Where its predecessor ‘Seasons End’ had used many musical ideas left on the shelf after Fish’s departure, it still featured a sound which was fairly typical for the band. ‘Holidays In Eden’ was different. After one listen, it was very obvious to most that it was Steve Hogarth’s album.

The Songs

Many years down the line, there are still a lot of people out there who dislike it. In my opinion, they are missing some great music. The first single to be released from the album, ‘Cover My Eyes (Pain and Heaven)’, shows the band at their most commercial. A chorus-driven song with an AOR edge, every time I hear it, it’s a pure joy. At the time, it was likened to ‘The Scattering’ era Cutting Crew, which I now find quite spooky as H and Nick Van Eede have since written together.

The origins of the song date back to H’s days with How We Live and an unused song called ‘Simon’s Car’. I’m glad that idea was discarded as ‘Cover My Eyes’ is far superior. ‘Splintering Heart’ has a more traditional Marillion edge in the form of an absolutely killer guitar solo from Steve Rothery. ‘The Party’ shows off H’s ability to write a great lyric, as the song tells the story of a teenage girl’s first drunken party and an unwanted pregnancy. I think the lyrics translate so well on the page, they are not reliant on the music to help get the point across.

‘No One Can’, being a ballad, was also released as a single (what is it with rock ballads having to be singles?.). Once again, this leans towards Hogarth’s past as a pop ‘star’, but it’s a great song nevertheless. In a similar vein is ‘Dry Land’ (the third single release from the album). It is a re-recording of a song which originally appeared on the How We Live album of the same name. Marillion’s re-working of the song is undoubtedly superior and really benefits from Rothery’s ringing rhythm guitar parts.

Unfortunately by contrast, the title track ‘Holidays In Eden’ is a little stale, both musically and lyrically, but hey, everyone’s allowed an off day.. Another contender for greatness is ‘Waiting to Happen’, slow song with a top-notch musical arrangement. H is in great voice, this is easily one of his finest moments on this album, especially when set against the huge musical arrangement on the chorus with powerhouse drums from Ian. Superb solo from Rothers, too.

Closing the album is the ‘This Town’ trilogy. It’s the only aspect of this album many people seem to talk about favourably. Purely and simply, ‘This Town’ ROCKS… At just over three minutes, it’s in keeping with the feel of ‘Hooks In You’ from ‘Seasons End’ and it really clears the cobwebs.

‘The Rakes Progress’ is designed to be little more than an atmospheric piece leading into ‘100 Nights’. This one is a track which marries typical but effective guitar playing from Steve R to a great vocal line from Steve H. One final thought. The drums on this track sound really intense – were they recorded live?

In Summary

So, there you have it. Supposedly the black sheep of the Marillion family. Maybe by plugging it on an AOR based website, the album could find a new audience. Maybe the AOR audience is the one which could give the album the praise it really deserves.

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