Introduction: Brave was the third Marillion album with Steve Hogarth. A brave album in many respects, in that it is a concept album with eleven tracks, many of which are subdivided even further. Like Misplaced Childhood, many of the tracks segue into each other or are linked by spoken passages (often performed by the band's families).Steve Rothery explained the album to Kerrang!'s Chris Watts in an article entitled Marillion's Brave New World in early 1994: "The album is actually a fictional story inspired by [a young woman found on the Severn Bridge, a notorious suicide platform over the Bristol Channel. The woman refused or was unable to speak and had no identification. In a desperate attempt to identify her, the police contacted a Bath radio station to broadcast an appeal which was heard by Steve Hogarth]. It's the story of a young girl's life from birth, to being abused to heartbreak, to drugs... everything. It's a very happy story!"
Possibly the easiest way to understand the whole story is to watch the sometimes effective Brave movie by Richard Stanley. The movie was severely let down by a lack of funds and in a few places, this shows. It is, nevertheless, worth watching once.
Cover notes: Simultaneously the most simple and most effective of all the Hogarth-era sleeves, Brave features the shadowed face of the 'heroine' with undecipherable writing overlaid over her face (the picture on the right is the original photo of the model, before cropping and blurring).
The band name is reduced to a plain lowercase font next to the album name both tucked away at the top of the album.
The back cover features a woman's face overlaid by a distorted MAR-ILL-ION logo. The girl is not Josie Ayres who stars in the film made to accompany the album. It was an existing model's card that designer Carl Glover found and adapted.
On the left, courtesy of Edward Martin, is a cut down version with added blur, from Bill Smith Studios.
In 2002, I found reference on the Dutch Prog Rock Pages (DPRP) site as to the origins of the writing on the cover. "The source was the original diary of Anne Frank (Het Achterhuis or The Attic). The band did not want people to think that the album had anything to do with Anne Frank or that they had used the horrible experiences of Anne Frank as a cheap way to create a concept album; something which definitely wasn't the case. The fragment belongs to Anne Frank's writings about July 15th 1944."
Only eight of the songs from the album have any explanations.