For me, the great CD of the h era is "Afraid Of Sunlight", but this CD is pretty special too. I was never a fan of "Brave" because of its inherent lack of tunefulness and when I started to hear comparisions between "Brave" and "Marbles", I was somewhat dismayed, thinking "Like Brave? Oh no. All those twiddly noodling tracks between too few good tunes. Say it ain't so."
But luckily, my dismay was misplaced.
The reason that I don't give this five stars is there are still noodling tracks in here and they are Marbles I-IV. Now, they ARE "Brave-like", not too tuneful, over too quickly and quite irritating.
The good thing I can say is that they are short and give us more time for some really great tracks like "Fantastic Place", "Angelina" and the real standout "Ocean Cloud". Not too sure about one of the other reviewers here who's complaining about the lyrics, especially of "Ocean Cloud" - that track is simply worth the price of the CD.
I also have to agree with other reviewers who say the opening track "The Invisible Man" seems a little incoherent - like it's a number of unrelated songs cobbled together to make a long "epic". But that being said, it's still not bad. There are no bad tracks here for me, except of course the aforementioned noodlers that are "Marbles I-IV". It took me a long time to get listen to the second CD because I kept on replaying the first one.
Yes, it is that good.
I have also gone back to listening to those CDs that most of the reviewers here ( including myself ) find the most disappointing - "Radiation" and ".com". They are growing on me, but "Costa del Slough" still remains the worst track they EVER recorded - but "These Chains" on "Radiation" - that track I'm really getting in to.
"Anoraknophobia" I always liked - I saw them live in Cologne for the tour promoting that CD and they kicked proverbial you-know-what - Steve Rothery was just outstanding live.
I have "Brave" in the car CD changer, but, sorry, it still leaves me cold. There is no way that "Brave" can hold a candle to either "Marbles" or another great effort of the h era, "This Strange Engine".
If you get the chance to hear "Man Of A Thousand Faces" live, whatever you do, DON'T PASS IT UP.
I am a fan from "Script For a Jester's Tear" and still a big fan of Fish too. His solo work is also well worth checking out.
Right now I would rank the h CDs as :-
1. Afraid Of Sunlight
3. The Strange Engine
4. Seasons End
6. Holidays In Eden
Perhaps if I listen to ".com" some more, it will push "Brave" all the way to the bottom of the list.