MARK KELLY’S MARATHON – Mark Kelly’s Marathon
Marillion keyboardist Mark Kelly surely needs no introduction and this grand musical solo adventure of his is quite something. With an extraordinarily talented line-up and ten amazingly heartfelt compositions with an almost understated sense of beauty and grace to them, this self-titled offering is one of those unique releases where one can just sit back and marvel at the way in which everything moves seamlessly about and the elegance with which all the different parts flow together. It sounds and feels like a proper British prog record and yet there is so much more to it than that. It is sufficiently challenging and unpredictable for the listener to keep coming back to it for more, but on the other hand, there is not one single song on the disc that is not immediately appealing or memorable (and in some cases even downright mesmerizing). Another thing about this moving opus is that it seems to exist outside of time in the sense that it sounds fresh and contemporary but with clear nods and parallels to 70s and 80s prog rock and pop music.
The accompanying DVD contains a rehearsal (or a performance depending on one’s point of view) where Kelly and the rest of the members of the ensemble play the LP from beginning to end, and although it is not the most exciting thing in the world to watch, it does offer an interesting perspective on both the song material and the group itself. The whole thing sounds confident and focused here too.
There is just something about the vibe, tone, and feel of this whole musical endeavor that totally works for me and one is left with the impression that Kelly and his skilled cohorts had a fantastic time recording it. On top of that, it has an awful lot to offer from a lyrical point of view and this is simply marvelous storytelling (and slightly quirky and eccentric too at times, which is pretty charming). In summing up, this is a colorful and captivating album that is rich in atmosphere and texture, so do not miss out!