Mike Marlin - Grand Reveal
When asked what we want to do when we grow up, as a child our dreams may throw up astronaut, sports hero or film star. With teenage rebellion these aspirations may shift towards vitriolic rock star. By the time we become that long distant grown up, these dreams subside amongst the social conventions and we find ourselves sat in an office wondering when exactly we put the guitar down in place of chartered accountant exams and a mortgage. Mike Marlin’s story suggests that whatever course your life takes, it’s never too late to return to the dreams of youth.
Grand Reveal is Marlin's third album of contemporary English rock stylings that have their roots in non-noodly 1970s prog. Marlin isn’t a relative newcomer to the music scene and during his time at Oxford University he was a member of a number of bands. It’s at this point that Marlin’s focus changed, dropping out of his studies before ultimately pursuing a career in technology, marrying and having children. Seemingly he continued to write and record songs without releasing them. It was only at the age of 48 that he changed his focus back to music, releasing a debut album, touring and picking up attention.
On an initial listen Grand Reveal comes across as a competent affair musically and in lyrical terms borders on cliche. Even at this point though, the listener retains some sense that there’s something there and with repeated listens the album opens up and becomes a much more rewarding experience. After the first couple of tracks the album really begins to take hold. From 'War to Begin'’s urgency, 'Amazing'’s expansive refrain or 'Giving It All Away'’s infectious vocal the album transforms into one of real quality and depth.
Marlin is testament that we should all keep listening to our internal dialogues despite the passage our lives take. In Marlin’s case the cause is helped by a deep well of talent - but if it results in things as good as this album then we all need to make sure we’re not leaving the wrong things behind. This album is many things, an outlier from contemporary commercial music, imbued with musical passion and quality but in more simple terms, is just fantastic listen.