There were hundereds of “could-have-beens” during the Britpop explosion of the 90s, but none may have had as much influence, praise, and potential that Marion had. When they broke out into the scene in the early 90s, their main competitor was Radiohead — and the press hailed Marion over Radiohead on initial reviews. Q magazine described them as “stadium rock Gods in waiting – the new Joy Division”. Marion’sÂ debut album, This World And Body, produced several singles such as ‘Sleep’, which displayed great potential. The albums were inconsistant though, resulting in a minor following. Originally hailed as a better band than Radiohead, they were now opening for Radiohead. Opening for Radiohead in 1996 was still an impressive feat though. They also opened for Morrissey and they earned his praise, and whenever Morrissey seems to compliment a band, they seem to falter for some odd reason. In 1998, they released their sophomore album The Program. Johnny Marr produced the album, and his touches are vividly heard, resulting in a solid and consistant album. Despite the good feedback from their small following, it found no success (only slightly in Japan) and the band later announced that they would be going their separate ways.
‘Sparkle’ and ‘Miyako Hideaway’ are two selections off of The Program. ‘Sparkle’ is a song that I am quite surprised didn’t result in a huge success and give Marion the break they deserve. Johnny Marr has a distinct influence in ‘Sparkle’ and throughout the album, noting the brilliant riffs and slight solo towards the end of the song. They obviously released the song as a single, but it didn’t do very well. ‘Miyako Hideaway’ was the first single off of The Program. It’s a longer song for its genre, streching into almost five minutes. Like most Britpop artists, it is heavy reliant on clear wit and hooks. Marion’s failure to gain a large audience is simply due to no promotional push at all. Former Marion members Jaime Harding and Phil Cunningham are actually writing songs together again and planning to reform Marion with aÂ new lineup. Perhaps they will have a newer and more mature sound, but regardless, some of their older material remains a lost treasure.