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Jolly - The Audio Guide To Happiness - Part 2 CD (album) cover

THE AUDIO GUIDE TO HAPPINESS - PART 2

Jolly

 

Neo-Prog

3.77 | 108 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

J-Man
Prog Reviewer
4 stars New York's Jolly is a band that really popped on my radar after hearing 2011's The Audio Guide to Happiness, Part One, as their unique mix of progressive rock, alternative, metal, and pop sensibility immediately set them apart from other progressive acts I was hearing at the time. Two years later, and Jolly have left me with a similar impression on their second (and final) installment in the series; Jolly conjures a one-of-a-kind atmosphere with their music, and they also posses the compositional and technical finesse to make the unique ambiance of their sound damn enjoyable to listen to. If anyone was unsure how this band was able to capture touring spots with acts like Riverside and Flying Colors, The Audio Guide to Happiness, Part Two provides a sufficient explanation why - a masterful expression of mood, atmosphere, and attention to detail, this is one of 2013's early musical highlights in my mind.

The style of music heard on The Audio Guide to Happiness, Part Two could best be described as progressive metal, although Jolly hardly resembles 'traditional' prog metal acts like Dream Theater or Fates Warning. The focus is largely geared towards moody and intense atmospheres not too dissimilar from recent Porcupine Tree or Marillion efforts, albeit with more deviations into alternative pop, metal, and even electronic territory. Jolly aren't afraid to incorporate some damn heavy guitar grooves into their music (there are even some harsh vocals in the dynamic "Firewall"!), as well as plenty of catchy melodies and strong hooks; while Jolly are perhaps not the most traditionally 'prog' band out there, their complex, eclectic, and highly atmospheric sound should grab the attention of most progressive metal listeners.

Fortunately, Jolly's excellence transcends their stylistic originality, as their talent as composers and performers is apparent throughout all of The Audio Guide to Happiness, Part Two. Although their playing styles are not particularly flashy, Jolly demonstrates their talents through detailed compositions and professional musicianship across the board - things like the atmospheric build in "Despite the Shell" (and the magnificent guitar solo that soon follows!) or the strong dynamic variation in "Firewall" are the mark of some truly skilled composers. What perhaps amazes me most about Jolly is that, even though their music is quite complex when closely analyzed, it manages to come across as accessible and almost pop-like to the more casual listener; the result is an album that is enjoyable on first listen, but still reveals new details with each new listening session.

As enthusiastic as I was (and still am) about The Audio Guide to Happiness, Part One, this installment is more mature and refined than its already superb predecessor. If compelling atmospheres, tasteful musicianship, and strong melodies are what you crave from progressive metal, Jolly should be on your radar - this album proves that they are part of the genre's upper echelon without a doubt!

J-Man | 4/5 |

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