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Marillion - Happiness Is The Road CD (album) cover





3.35 | 641 ratings

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The Progmatist
4 stars I'm not entirely sure why every Marillion release needs to create a battleground between prog "purists" and crossover fans, Fish nostalgics and H enthusiasts, but I really don't care. When I listen to a Marillion album, I am struck by the realization that the band has one singular goal when they enter the studio: to create something that will grab the listener. And for me, Happiness grabs me in ways that few other albums do.

This double volume release isn't perfect. There is no question that the mix is nowhere near as polished as say Marbles or Yet I can also appreciate the fact that this may have been intentional. Happiness is the Road is about exactly that: an unanalytical euphoria for all of life's joys. It would seem almost hypocritical for the band to labor over the sound of such a deliberately undeliberate album until they arrived at the perfectly equalized experience. So in the end we have an almost improvisational and carefree approach to the acoustics that at some points enhances the raw jubilation of the first disk and at some points detracts from it. That being said, there is still no question that the end result is a mix that on the whole feels flat and unfinished.

The second disk is also not as powerful for me as the first. While the first disk takes me on an almost relentlessly joyous trip through joy and celebration, the second disk feels like an experiment for experimentation's sake, often coming up patchy and unmemorable.

Shortcomings aside, though, the first volume here has such a powerful effect on me that I'd feel like I was selling the work short by giving it anything less than 4 excellent stars. As soon as I'm asked to chill in the sunshine with some lemon tea in Dreamy Street, at the moment I'm brought on board a moonlit train to coast past sleepy homes and Christmas lights, I know that it will be ok to lay my stresses aside for a while and just enjoy the ride. And enjoy it I will, as the sound will continue to become lighter and lighter, giving the listener the palpable sensation that he is floating on air. I've read several reviews on this forum that have criticized this album for being undecided and/or too uncomplicated. But this is precisely what I love so much about it. If Marbles was intense, introspective, and brooding, then Happiness is the perfect antidote of cathartic liberation. Simply put, Happiness Is the Road makes me feel good. For me, that makes this album a huge achievement.

The Progmatist | 4/5 |


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