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Marillion - Happiness Is The Road CD (album) cover





3.35 | 641 ratings

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4 stars After stumbling a bit with their previous release, Marillion get back on track with their second double-disc album, Happiness Is the Road. The album is actually comprised of two unrelated discs that are more the result of the band overflowing with ideas than anything else. The first disc, titled Essence is a conceptual disc, in which songs flow together and revolve around the theme of celebrating life while the second disc, The Hard Shoulder is a disc of individual songs that still function together very well. The sound shows the band continuing on the atmospheric, progressive pop- rock path they embarked on in the 21st century but expanding their textural palette through some added instrumentation and a more diverse set of songs.

Happiness Is the Road may not be perfect, but it is overall very consistent and a large quantity of songs featured on each of these two discs is of the highest caliber. I'm quite shocked at the negative reception this album is getting; it really doesn't seem deserved. I think what the band has done here is taken the shorter, highly pop-tinged sound of Somewhere Else's bulk and refined it, and the dark, brooding, spacey sound of the remainder of that album and made it more dynamic & epic. I don't want to analyze all of the tracks here, but suffice it to say that all of the tracks are good, and most are great. "Dreamy Street" sets the perfect mood for the first disc and the album really, and "Real Tears for Sale" ends the album with such power and emotion that only Marillion is capable of expressing. The band starts to slip in the middle of each disc but they manage to stay upright both times. I don't skip through any tracks. Odd as it may seem, the band is possibly more consistent on double-disc albums than they are on single discs.

Marillion has always been on the vanguard of creative means of disbrution, so it should not have come as a surprise when they announced that they would release their album for free before it's official release. I don't know if the band's sales went up as a result of their experiment or not, but I hope they did. The band has been working hard for years, and though they have a track record of inconsistency, when they're on, they're on. And they are definitely on on Happiness Is the Road.

Moatilliatta | 4/5 |


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