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Marillion - Happiness Is The Road CD (album) cover

HAPPINESS IS THE ROAD

Marillion

 

Neo-Prog

3.36 | 424 ratings

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Gatot
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars When I received an offer from the CD inlay of "Somewhere Else" by the time I received the CD from amazon, I said to myself that "I am not gonna pre-order" the next album of Marillion. My words seemed come true after I had listened to "Somewhere Else" for a couple of times even though my chief reason for not preordering was previously that I was afraid the band would not keep their promise like they did with my Marillion "Marbles". Well, you know my rating for "Somewhere Else" at this site and I really hoped the band comes back to form like what they did with "Marbles", at least. There was great song from Marbles that I cannot deny .it's called "Drilling hole" and it's truly a masterpiece. I was quite happy that the band still could compose the music brilliantly with their Drilling Hole track. There was another excellent track "The Invisible Man" as well as nice pop song "Don't Hurt Yourself". Unfortunately, I cannot find here in this "Happiness Is The Road" album.

It's OK at track level

Trouble with this new album by Marillion is that you will find some good individual track but not good as an album in its entirety. Why? I tend to get bored because the music does not seem to move in energetic way from one track to another. There sounds like no balance between hi and low points, everything moves in a flat mode. I presume you would say that there are nice songs at the first three tracks "Dreamy Street", "This Train Is My Life" and "Essence". I would guarantee you would love them individually or in fact the three of them played consecutively. But then try spinning the album until the end of disc one, I would suspect you would be bored with the mellow style in almost every single track or you turn sleepy while the music is playing. The more I spin the album, I find some other track is good at track level. That means, every time I play this album, I should not play the whole album in its entirety. Rather I should select three songs and play other music and then play another three tracks and so on and so forth. Otherwise, I get bored. By the time I am writing this review, my Sennheiser PX-100 is playing "Especially True" of disc two that sounds excellent to my ears. But how come when I played the album in its entirety I could not feel the same thing about this song? It's because the music has lost its beauty when it's played in its entirety.

Crossover Prog?

Since their Anoraknophobia album the band proclaimed their departure from being neo progressive band. However, they actually did not create new sub-genre of prog music because the music was bit of Radiohead-like, not something unique, Marillion sound. The music direction is more towards what so called as Crossover Prog (progressive music in crossroad? Well, you may guess it .). Unfortunately, the kind of music Marillion makes nowadays is something that has Muse, Radiohead or U2 in it, nothing special about it. I know, Mr H voice is quite unique and I admit that. But it does not really help the overall composition of the music.

As a matter of fact, while I played this album (it has been a month already) I also played the music of Kayak at the same time period. Let me tell you, I'd rather play Kayak's "Starlight Dancer" or "Daughter or Son" or "Daphne (Laurel Tree)" or "Woe and Alas" than Marillion "Happiness is The Road". Kayak is a crossover prog band with its tendencies of being pop, but it's really enjoyable compared to Happiness Is The Road.

Straight forward structure

Most musical compositions offered here with this album are straight forward in structure. This is different with their excellent "marbles" album where you can find many tracks with curved structure like "The Invisible Man" or the masterpiece "Drilling Hole". But here you will not find such track. In fact the title track "Happiness Is The Road" is actually a nice track but it's too straight forward in structure, even though the melody is quite good actually. One crucial thing that is missing is also the lack of inspiring interlude. In fact there is barely no interlude at all in all music offered here with this album.

Conclusion

If I put more negative words on the above review, it does not mean that this is a bad album. It might be my expectation is high with this band. I have been emotionally involved with the band since the day of its debut album release in 1983, and the reason I am still listening to this album is because of my emotional involvement. I was disappointed when Fish left but I tried to love H era as well. Most of my colleagues who preordered this album have the same reason: "emotional involvement" with the band. They feel guilty is they don't order and especially they don't want the band they have loved so far die or turn to dust. Unfortunately, I am quite disappointed with the band's recent music direction - no energy, no power, no killing melody. As a matter of fact right after reviewing this album there is an energetic and heavy music that embraces my ears and when I look at song list at my iTunes, it's Megadeth's "Holy Wars .The Punishment Due" .it cheers me up! (even though it's not prog at all. Well, actually Happiness Is The Road is not prog album also ..).

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW (i-Rock! Music Community)

Gatot | 2/5 |

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