So, after their biggest commercial success to date, what does EMI want out of Marillion? Of course, an even bigger hit.

The band hit the studio, and Fish is more and more out of control with drugs and alcohol. I guess the whole band is partaking, but Fish is hitting it the hardest. The lyrics reflect this--every song mentions alcohol or bars or drinking, and is dark and moody with Fish putting himself with the likes of Jack Kerouac and Dylan Thomas and other self-destructive artists.

The album is released and Incommunicado, Sugar Mice and Warm Wet Circles are indeed hits but not bigger than "Kayleigh", which just adds to the tension. The build up peaks after their extensive touring for this album and Fish leaves the band in the summer of 1988.

The Mark Wilkinson cover is very different than previous ones--this one's a collage of the aforementioned self-destructive artists around a bar, with the lead character Torch (obviously based on Fish) at the front with the remnants of a jester outfit in his back pocket. See, even the cover is in a bar.

If you buy the remastered version of the album, you get a bonus disc with some demos of songs from the 1988 recording sessions before Fish left. They're a tantalizing look at what could have been. Most of the music ended up on Seasons End or later Marillion albums, and Fish's lyrics ended up on many of his solo albums.

This is pretty much my favorite Marillion album. The music is no longer derivative prog. Sure, the emphasis is on instruments and complex music, but it sets an impeccable mood. And Fish's lyrics have evolved from sing-song rhyming to real poetry. You can't listen to the trilogy of Hotel Hobbies/Warm Wet Circles and That Time Of The Night and not be deeply moved.

This is the album I would give to people to get them into Marillion if they were serious about music.


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