Misplaced Childhood

Original release by EMI Records, 17th June 1985
Remastered 2CD, released by EMI Records, 7243 4 97034 2 1 (UK), 17th October 1998

01. Pseudo Silk Kimono (02:13)
02. Kayleigh (04:03)
03. Lavender (02:27)
04. Bitter Suite (05:53)
05. Heart Of Lothian (06:02)
06. Waterhole (Expresso Bongo) (02:12)
07. Lords Of The Backstage (01:52)
08. Blind Curve (09:29)
09. Childhood's End? (04:32)
10. White Feather (02:23)
Total Time: (41:17)

01. Lady Nina (05:50) (Extended 12" Version)
02. Freaks (04:03) (Single version)
03. Kayleigh (04:03) (Alternative Mix)
04. Lavender Blue (04:22) (Lavender Remix)
05. Heart of Lothian (05:54) (Extended Mix)
Misplaced Childhood album demos, recorded February 1985:
06. Pseudo Silk Kimono (02:11)
07. Kayleigh (04:06)
08. Lavender (02:37)
09. Bitter Suite (02:54)
10. Lords of the Backstage (01:46)
11. Blue Angel (01:46)
12. Misplaced Randezvous (01:56)
13. Heart of Lothian (03:49)
14. Waterhole (Expresso Bongo) (02:00)
15. Passing Strangers (09:17)
16. Childhood's End? (02:23)
17. White Feather (02:18)
Total Time: 61:20

All titles by Derek W Dick/Steve Rothery/Mark Kelly/Peter Trewavas/Ian Mosley.

A first-time listener should not be put off by the undoubtedly commercial 'Kayleigh' and 'Lavender', as these short songs lend their central themes to the more progressive developments later in the album. This makes Misplaced Childhood a whole greater than the sum of its parts - Fish is, after all, an acquired taste as a vocalist, and the musicianship is not outstanding. However, Marillion are not afraid to allow their simple, direct approach to create a soundtrack to Fish's journey of self-discovery chronicled here.
And it is this journey that lifts the album above all other 'neo-progressive' efforts. The lyrics take us through themes of lost love, ruination and despair, both personal and that of wider society, but offer us a glimmer of hope at the journey's cathartic end. To my mind this sort of journey is an important function of progressive music often overlooked by listeners and reviewers alike.
The '70s influences on this record are clearly discernible, and for this Marillion seem to attract criticism. However, this is clearly a 1980s record, with superior production values and sensibilities. Marillion forged their own path, and it is insulting to allocate them something other than a genuine place in the history of progressive music. 4/5
russellk (Prog Archives), June 2005

Less a review than just commentary really, since there's no way I can be objective about this album. I absolutely, unequivocally, love it! To enthuse about it any more than this would be downright creepy, I think.
When I list my favorite albums of all time, one unwavering entry is Marillion's Misplaced Childhood, and more often than not, at number one. From the opening keyboards of Mark Kelly and Fish's fragile (well, fragile for Fish) vocals of "Pseudo Silk Kimono" I was hooked. Okay, I had heard and was hooked by "Kayleigh" before buying the whole album when it first came out, but I fell in love with the album immediately. I'm not sure if at the time it was Steve Rothery's guitar that first hooked me with that song, but there was something about it that just clicked with me. A romanticism, a fullness, a richness... an emotion. Yes, that was the key, and one thing I look for in music - does it move me (oh, and this one does)? What underscores the track, the entire album, is strong emotion. It gets to you, you feel it, you may have even felt it in the same way Fish did when he scribbled out the lines. Of course, after time, I came to love not only Rothery's guitar playing, but everything about this Marillion release (and Marillion, in fact). I love Mosley's textured and powerful drumming (which is why I'm not usually impressed by the generic bash-bash of some prog metal bands - use the kit dammit!, ya know), Trewavas' bass, Kelly's keys, everything. And here was this great band that nobody outside a small circle of fans knew about - and no one in my inner circle -- though I was willing to share this discovery with everyone I knew. It is the reason you have this website here to read, because Marillion opened a whole world of prog to me, and not just "neo" prog, as these pages attest.
When I would try to describe it to anyone who'd listen, I'd refer to tapestries, how each time you looked (listened) you discover new things. And I did, and indeed still do. Favorite moments? Well, really every single note, but Mosley's percussion leads into "Lavender" is one, and the percussion and Kelly's keyboards that mimic rain leading out of "Bitter Suite: Windswept Thumb" (from the lyric "and the sign of the rain") into "Heart Of Lothian" is another; Rothery's achingly lovely guitar leads and solos everywhere on this album... Though Trewavas bass would gain more prominence in the mix on later albums, his absence here would surely be felt. Sometimes it's the subtle things that make a difference. To use Marillion's own metaphor, this is a puzzle and each piece fits together only in a certain way - but unlike the album artwork depicts, there are no missing pieces here.
I'll say it again, I can't be objective about this release... I know every word and must sing along, full-voice, regardless of the howling cats and family members (yes, howling family members - at my singing, mind you, they are okay with the music). How often have I played this album? Well, let's see. I wore out the cassette that I originally purchased in 1985, and the replacement cassette died as well. Bought it on vinyl and taped it and I think that tape's wearing thin. I bought it on CD, which has held up, which is good. This album was the soundtrack to my drive from home to the junior college I was attending. And it seemed always perfectly timed to the features of the road. The tape would begin just as I started my journey, and by just about the end of "Bitter Suite," the crescendo during "Bitter Suite," actually, I'd reach the summit of Grand Ave about a quarter mile from the college. Of course, now the road has changed, more lights and traffic, so it doesn't work anymore, but it was my morning ritual. The rest of the album would play while I waited in my car for my first class. If I were stranded on a deserted island, and somehow had a way to play it, this'd be the CD I'd want with me.
I remember thinking how cool it was that one song flowed into to the other, as I'd not heard that before (not having heard DSOTM in full at that time, for example). And being impressed by the poetry of Fish's lyrics and how he sings them (I still am; I do hold an English Lit degree, so words have always been of importance to me). I was even inspired by this, and Script... to write my own poetry (can't say it was good poetry... and so I won't share it). And even underscored sections of my (still yet to be finished) novel, but that would take too much explaining here; the inspiration, however, was "Threshold" and some stories a college professor had about his trips to India.
What has inspired this commentary was not what you think - not because we've reviewed Fish's new album Field Of Crows (which I'm now anxious to hear, based on that review), but actually because I was listening to La Tulipe Noire's Faded Leaves and needed to confirm a reference. But I can never just listen to a snippet of this album, and so the words have just exploded from me (and if you want to listen along with me, I'm at Rothery's monster solo during "Passing Strangers"/"Mylo" - of course, I stop to air guitar/drum/bass/keyboard as needed). In fact, I'm writing both this and the LTN review at the same time (more or less), and it occurs to me now the similarities between "Perimeter Walk" and "Grendel" (from Marillion's early years) and in listening to explosive "Threshold" I wonder if this is where Threshold took their name... it has that same kind of power that would appear on Wounded Land... hmm... never thought about that before.
As I said, this wasn't going to be a review, since I can't be critical about anything here. Not that there's anything to be critical about. The album sounds great (though this isn't the remastered version I'm listening to, so I can just imagine how awesome it would sound), the performances are astounding... if ever you are going to hear me speak like a fan-girl about an album, this is it! Followed closely by Clutching At Straws.
Everyone has an album that has touched their life in some profound way - this one's mine. 5/5
Stephanie Sollow, March 2004

The most accessible and accomplished of the Fish-era Marillion albums, Misplaced Childhood's most notable achievement is the integration of well-conceived musical and lyrical motifs into a seamless concept album.
Misplaced Childhood is seen by many as the definitive Marillion album, and it is hard to argue. The music is stylistically typical of their first three albums and has far fewer flat spots than Fugazi. It also contains that most unproglike of beasts, a hit single. The infectious "Kayleigh" reached number 2 on the British charts.
The album is a concept album in a much more conventional sense than anything else they have released before or since. It tells the story of a man who goes through a broken relationship, the death of a close friend and into depression until he rediscovers his inner child. It doesn't sound too promising, but by this time Fish was becoming a master of his lyrical craft and the musical backing helps to emphasise the mood.
Musical highlights include "Kayleigh", "Lavender", and "Heart of Lothien", all of which are more upbeat. The musical strength of the album, however, lies in its overall effect and evocative nature. The music as much as the lyrics takes you on a journey. Although this is another synth oriented album, it is interesting to note that Steve Rothery's guitar is responsible for the more memorable instrumental parts of this album.
This is a fine example of what Fish-era Marillion could do. If you are interested in what Marillion were all about, or enjoy the other early Marillion albums, then this is for you.
Conrad Leviston (Ground and Sky) December 2002

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