Afraid of Sunlight is the eighth studio album by the British neo-progressive rock band Marillion, released in 1995. Recorded at The Racket Club in Buckinghamshire between January and March 1995, it was produced by the band themselves and co-produced by Dave Meegan, as was the previous album, Brave (1994).
Despite being one of Marillion's most critically acclaimed albums, Afraid of Sunlight was their first to fail to reach the Top 10 in the UK Albums Chart, peaking at number 16 and falling out of the Top 40 after just two weeks. Disappointing sales led to EMI Records not extending the contract with the band. The label, however, would continue to release back-catalogue material on compilations and reissues, as well as distribute some later recordings.
|Afraid of Sunlight|
|Studio album by Marillion|
|Released||24 June 1995|
|Recorded||January — March 1995|
The Racket Club|
|Singles from Afraid of Sunlight|
While not a concept album as such, Afraid of Sunlight repeatedly examines the destructive side of celebrity. In particular, "Gazpacho" lampoons the Hollywood lifestyle and seems to refer to Mike Tyson. "Cannibal Surf Babe" is a Beach Boys pastiche inspired by late-night horror movies. "Out of This World" is dedicated to world land and water speed record holder Donald Campbell, killed in 1967, and inspired diver Bill Smith to look after the wreck. The main wreckage of Campbell's Bluebird K7 hydroplane was recovered from Coniston Water on 8 March 2001. Both Steve Hogarth and Steve Rothery were present at the raising. The title track refers to self-destructive thrill-seekers such as James Dean, while "King" is about Elvis Presley, Kurt Cobain and Michael Jackson. "Beyond You" is reminiscent of Phil Spector's Wall of Sound productions and was mixed in mono.
Steve Hogarth named the 1980 Martin Scorsese film Raging Bull, about a boxer's inability to deal with fame, as a strong influence on the album. He also cited O. J. Simpson, on trial for murder at the time Afraid of Sunlight was recorded, as another influence on its concept; the wind-down of "Gazpacho" ends with a sample from a news report on Simpson's infamous flight from the police.
Afraid of Sunlight was released in Europe on 24 June 1995 by EMI Records on CD[nb 1], LP[nb 2] and cassette, and in the U.S. on 4 July 1995 by El Dorado, a subsidiary label of I.R.S. Records. It climbed to number 16 in the UK and spent only three weeks in the charts, the shortest chart residency of any Marillion studio album by then. The only single from the album, "Beautiful", peaked at number 29 in the UK Singles Chart. Afraid of Sunlight reached number 8 in the Netherlands, the country where the band has one of their largest fanbases.
As part of a series of Marillion's first eight studio albums, EMI Records re-released Afraid of Sunlight on 22 March 1999 with 24-bit digital remastered sound and a second disc containing bonus tracks[nb 3]. A new 180g heavy weight vinyl pressing[nb 4] identical to the original 1995 edition was released in 2013.
AllMusic critic Alex S. Garcia has retrospectively given Afraid of Sunlight a four-out-of-five star rating. He noted that the album has "some very beautiful melodic moments and perhaps a better mix between calm and aggressive [sic] melodies than on previous albums made with Steve Hogarth". Jeri Montesano called it "the peak of Marillion's growing, impressive body of work" while reviewing Seasons End (1989). His colleague Dale Jensen has named the album "the most consistent Marillion release to date". In a review from Q magazine, Afraid of Sunlight has been described as "a 40-minute journey that touches on the legacy of Brian Wilson, Todd Rundgren and The Beatles, while hinting at the experimental trivialities of Jellyfish or Split Enz".
|2.||"Cannibal Surf Babe"||5:45|
|3.||"Beautiful"||Hogarth, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley||5:12|
|4.||"Afraid of Sunrise"||5:02|
|5.||"Out of This World"||7:54|
|6.||"Afraid of Sunlight"||6:50|
|7.||"Beyond You"||Hogarth, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley||6:11|
|1999 remastered edition bonus disc|
|1.||"Icon"||Hogarth, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley||6:05|
|3.||"Second Chance" (aka "Beautiful", mixed by Dave Meegan)||5:14|
|4.||"Beyond You" (demo)||5:18|
|5.||"Cannibal Surf Babe" (studio outtake)||6:00|
|6.||"Out of This World" (studio outtake)||7:28|
|7.||"Bass Frenzy"||Hogarth, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley||1:17|
|8.||"Mirages" (demo)||Hogarth, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley||6:02|
|9.||"Afraid of Sunlight" (acoustic demo, edited by Lucy Jordache with Peter Mew)||6:50|