Mr Punch Unveils New Music Plans

There are several hundred people who enjoyed Mr Punch on their annual trip to England. The Italian Fish-era Marillion Tribute band have built a solid reputation on these shores. In an exciting twist, before the show at The Underworld in Camden, the band told MetalTalk Editor Steve Ritchie about their plans for some new, original music.

Mr Punch are experts at providing a time-machine experience. In this trip across the North Sea, the band’s focus is celebrating the second Marillion album, Fugazi. It is a much-loved album in the Marillion discography and defines the second-album problems many bands have.

Mr Punch - The Underworld - 22 March 2024
Mr Punch – The Underworld – 22 March 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

“I love a Fugazi, the song,” Marcella Arganese, who covers the Steve Rothery parts with emotion and accuracy, said. “The last part makes me dance every time. I dance while playing guitar. In the album, there are a lot of beautiful solos. When I first listened to the album, Assassing was the song that remained in my mind.”

Fugazi is an album that has stood the test of time. “It’s a fantastic album,” vocalist Marco Vincini said. “Some critics, over the years, have suggested that maybe the album has a couple of weak moments, particularly She Chameleon. I think that is one of the most fascinating pieces of music that Marillion have ever done.

“It is very inspiring and very challenging because there’s a lot of change of mood and dynamics. As musicians trying to reproduce the song, we feel very blessed.”

Mr Punch - The Underworld - 22 March 2024
Mr Punch – The Underworld – 22 March 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

She Chameleon, a track Marillion were never happy with and was never played live after the release of Fugazi, went down a storm at The Underworld.

Mr Punch have played the entire Fugazi album live before. “People who come to watch and listen love it,” Marco says. “When they hear Fugazi, the reaction is very powerful. Cinderella Search stands out as one of the most loved songs from Marillion, even if it’s not in the original set list of the album. I think people love this album.

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“I think everyone considers Misplaced Childhood the most complete album. Marillion reached the point where they created what we could call the perfect Marillion album. But Fugazi is a classic. It’s a bit more raw and more diverse.”

The title track always gets people in the last part. “The end bits of Fugazi? Yeah, everyone in the crowd is always bouncing,” Marco says. “It’s a real atmospheric drinking and dancing moment.”

New Music

The musicians in Mr Punch are all talented individuals. They all have relationships in other bands, but as a team, they blend together wonderfully. It’s not a surprise then, that the creative drive has led them to writing new material.

Ahead of The Underworld show, I had the chance to hear Over The Edge Of The Pier, a second slice of new music from Mr Punch. It is a really interesting tease, as the abrupt ending suggests a concept album is being created.

“When Mr Punch was born,” Marcella says, “I was thinking about a puppet show. I’m in love with Victorian Puppet shows. So Over The Edge Of The Pier is the moment in which we are on the beach, and there is the theatre of puppets. There’s also something nostalgic.”

A quiet acoustic introduction gives Marco the chance to shine. He is singing Marcella’s lyrics. “Even if the lyrics come from someone else,” Marco says, “I always try to picture a scene in my mind so it makes sense for me, and I can sing it and be natural and be very comfortable with it.”

I love the atmosphere around the guitar parts and how it is all built up. You just know with the abrupt ending, the next song will begin with a bang. Mr Punch are recording the following songs now.

A version of There Was A Mermaid has already been shared, along with a video in a beautiful Italian cave. There are some beautiful textures around this song. The concept behind the music is something the whole band have worked on.

The ideas behind There Was A Mermaid were forged during the pandemic. Daniele Fuligni has some wonderfully atmospheric keyboard work here. “It all started with layers of sounds,” Fuligni says. “The piano parts are inspired by classical music, but also, it could remind you of the horror movie Halloween.”

There is also an idea for a graphic novel based around the story of Mr Punch, which, given the way Marco wonderfully intonates the story, makes this an interesting idea.

Throw in a wonderful guitar solo from Marcella, and there is a lot to take in and enjoy. “Every time I write a guitar solo,” Marcella says, “I play a part of the solo, and then I listen and listen again to understand what the note is that I have to play after. It takes a lot of time.”

Yes, you will find Marcella Arganese, Marco Vincini, Daniele Fuligni, Luca Cristofaro and Marco Fabbri on stage playing Fish-era Marillion, but there is no suggestion that the new music is connected with this in any way.

A listen to There Was A Mermaid will offer an insight into the album. I was lucky enough to hear a demo of Over The Edge Of The Pier, which confirms that this is interesting new music from a talented bunch of musicians who share a love of progressive music.

Personally, I’m excited to see how this project develops. It is a work in progress. The plan is for a five-track EP in the summer of 2025, with the full album to follow in 2026.

I will be watching and listening with intent.

Mr Punch - The Underworld - 22 March 2024
Mr Punch – The Underworld – 22 March 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

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