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Jolly - The Audio Guide To Happiness Part 1 CD (album) cover

THE AUDIO GUIDE TO HAPPINESS PART 1

Jolly

 

Neo-Prog

3.55 | 51 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'The Audio Guide To Happiness (Part I)' - Jolly (7/10)

First coming to my attention as a band seeking to create a therapeutic experience 'through the guise of rock music', progressive rocking New Yorkers Jolly aim to take music where science would not have allowed a few years ago. With the discovery of binaural beats- carefully calibrated stereophonic tones to induce heightened states of well-being- this new phenomenon (that some might dismiss as pseudo-scientific, at best) has generated alot of interest for its potential as an up-and-coming form of therapy. With that in mind, Jolly has created an album with incorporates binaural beats into the music, creating an album that attempts to optimize a listener's mood through lyrics, music, and the fresh technical aspect. A mixture of prog and psychology; quite an exciting prospect, to say the least. But regardless of the binaural beats' effectiveness, Jolly succeeds in delivering a powerful album that ranges from pop, to prog rock and even metal, even if it does get wrapped up in it's own admittedly pretentious concept a bit more than it should at times.

For an album that preaches happiness and well-being, the music here does get remarkably dark at times. In an interview, the band states to some extent that happiness is about coming to terms with all emotions good and bad, and this ideology does seem to be reflected in the music. Although the album starts off emulating a cheap relaxation tape, it's not long before the serenity fades into heavy guitars, energetic drumming and brooding vocals. A brand of progressive rock oriented towards a more commercially accessible approach as landmarked by Porcupine Tree, the songwriting here is based around strong choruses, powerful melodies sung by vocalist Anadale, and tasteful arrangements for the instruments.

Although the music does take a noticeable slip from consistent quality after the 'Guidance Two' interlude, the songs here are generally very well written and powerfully performed. 'Joy' is a track here with much potential to be a single, and the heaviest song 'The Pattern' is a cross between the darker moments of Muse, and a noticeable contribution of math metal, surprisingly enough. After some good listening though, the winner for 'album highlight' must go to the highly melodic softer track 'Storytime', where Anadale's vocals are at their strongest, and the guitars turn down for some more subtle piano work and atmospherics; a beautiful track.

Of course, no album is without some measure of flaws, and while 'The Audio Guide To Happiness's first installment is solid on a musical level, the album's concept does often get in the way of both the music and the album's flow. While it's perfectly understandable that the vocal interludes, introductions, outros, and voice clips are meant to contribute to the apparent therapeutic experience of it all, they result in something that sounds far more annoying than I would imagine they were ever intended to be. It's pretty aggravating to have a musical experience interrupted to listen to condescending voiceovers, but they are thankfully usually over before you're able to reach for the 'skip' button.

An interesting but generally poorly executed concept matched with some great music, and one does get a somewhat mixed impression of this album, but while the band's promise of a 'therapeutic experience' seems to work in reverse in terms of the irritating relaxation tapes, there is music here that does wonders for my mood, regardless of any of those binaural beats.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |

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