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Marillion - Happiness Is The Road CD (album) cover





3.35 | 641 ratings

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4 stars Happiness Is the Road is a real grower; at first listen I thought it was another collection of more commercial songs along the lines of Somewhere Else, with some token longer tracks thrown in, but on closer inspection it seems to be a little more interesting than that. The first half of the album, Essence, is a dizzying journey through a range of musical genres - including some pretty convincing soul on Nothing Fills the Hole - but the really progressive aspect of the thing is in how the tracks all fit in together, blending musical styles with ease in a dream-like trip. The second disc, The Hard Shoulder, sees the band mingling this approach with more obviously proggy pieces - the closing Real Tears For Sale sounding like an off-cut from Marbles.

On the whole, it's a rather atmospheric album with some great songs on it, and certainly deserves the multiple listens it requires to unpack. It might not be stereotypically "prog", but it's certainly progressive in terms of its musical approach and its willingness to experiment. The major downfall of the album is that it's simply far, far too long - 107 minutes of hit-and-miss stylistic experiments is way too much. If it were half as long it might be twice as good.

Warthur | 4/5 |


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