Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Happy The Man - The Muse Awakens CD (album) cover


Happy The Man


Eclectic Prog

3.58 | 111 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It is rewarding when a bunch of oldtimers stick to their guns, pull up their socks and make some good new music. Scooping into the bottom of one's bag of tricks, reaching out to that creative muse that may or may not be there, is never easy and in the case of a bunch of aging progsters, fairly brave. The album is missing a little something-- maybe the fantastic Kit Watkins on keys, maybe the inventive musical atmosphere of a bygone era, or just not being as hungry for cutting-edge symphonic rock as they once were. All that aside, this was a very encouraging little release and should please HtM fans widely. A 'comeback' for them if you will, and full of the delightful melody/rhythm interactions, eccentricities, counterpoint, integrity and good fun this group has always shown.

'Contemporary Insanity' is a perfect example of that newfound inspiration with hopping keyboard lines from David Rosenthal, Stanley Whitaker's mean guitar and much polymetric candy. Drummer Joe Bergamini and bassist Rick Kennel do a bang up job on rhythm as well, and leader Frank Wyatt's strong hand is felt as are his tasteful saxes and woodwinds. The set's title cut says it all and though lasts a meager five and a half minutes (a drop in the bucket in prog terms), captures the variety and refined ideas these guys are capable of. 'Stepping Through Time' reflects a fondness for jazz, even hints of Canterbury, though a voyage through nu-symphonic space is more in-line with what we're hearing. U.K.'s high-synth video game tendencies are reawakened as well, and some good old-fashioned HtM counterpoint for 'Lunch at the Psychedelicatessen' with plenty of carnival humor, the silly bounce of children's music, squeezebox oddities and Wyatt's unhinged sax. 'Slipstream' represents the slower and perhaps weaker parts of the album, sounding a touch more like AM radio than prog rock but 'Barking Spiders' refreshes things with Whitaker's stumbling guitar, various gastrointestinal noises, and a thoroughly good time had by all. 'Adrift' is another lugubrious try at Adult Contemporary, 'Shadowlites' features a rare vocal and a surprisingly gooey center, and 'Kindred Spirits' is quiet and soothing if too long. Fortunately, the seven-minute 'Il Quinto Mare' is a fine slab of piano-based Symph brimming with high-end Prog and jaw-dropping playing to end on a high note. A must for fans of this fine outfit, and worth inspection from symphomaniacs everywhere.

Atavachron | 4/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this HAPPY THE MAN review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives