Marillion is one of those bands that just keep plugging along, making albums every two or three years or so, touring like mad, and trying desperately to outrun the shadow of their former selves. Try as they might to make the follow up to Brave, they could just never seem to pull it off. So, instead of truly re-inventing themselves, they sorta used another band as a blueprint - Porcupinte Tree. Marillion started flirting with drumloops, multilayered production, spacey trance style rythms, which weren't too big a stretch since they experimenting with ambient style rock back in '94, when Brave came out. But they just fail, IMO, to make a consistant album.

Marbles (2004) took a little time to sink in...but in saying that, I mean after I took the over long double CD version and whittled it down to a single 65 minute album. Then it began to jell for me. I did like three or four songs a lot upon first listen, anyway, but now, I love the whole album. But I don't know if that will be the case for Somewhere Else.

Somewhere Else isn't in the same league as Marbles. There are some decent ballads (the title track and Thankyou Whoever You Are). The first three songs on the CD are actually an OK lead-in, if they actually led to any other song than Most Toys, which is just as misplaced as it is patchy. At least put it closer to the end of the album, or leave it off all together.

I find it boring, because the songs that I liked were just 'OK', not great, and not enough to over come the monotany of the rest of the album, which just seems to plod along. If only Somewhere Else retained some of the elements that made Marbles so great, I wouldn't be so disappointed. What it lacks is an incredible single like the raptuorous Don't Hurt Yourself, or the effective power ballad like Genie, or the modern sounding rockers like You're Gone or Drilling Holes, or the hooky power pop of The Damage, or the lush atmospherics of Neverland. Take these songs away from Marbles and you have, Somewhere Else.

Certainly it would have been hard to follow Marbles for this group, given it took them ten years to top Brave, but this is Marillion resting on their laurels after a steller effort. I don't see it growing on me. Its a competant effort, and has its moments, but doesn't have a standout track on it.