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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars It is a promising debut album we have here, courtesy of US outfit Jolly.

Their speciality seems to be to combine segments with rather different stylistic expressions, and they are most fond of blending ethereal, mellow passages with slow, heavy guitar-driven sequences. The latter more often than not sprinkled with synths on top of the guitars or supplying gentler details in the back of the mix.

Another aspect of this contrast which is also used in slightly different settings throughout is to mix passages with sparse instrumentation with themes that are distinctly rich and energetic.

Still, I found the band most interesting when they had a more subtle approach, the second to last effort Solstice a clear highlight and a brilliant track as far as I'm concerned. The lighter, almost ethereal and slightly space-tinged sound of that composition works beautifully with the driving bass, and the addition of heavy, staccato guitar riffs at the very end a brilliant use of this sound as an effect.

A promising band with a good debut album, worth seeking out for those who enjoy sophisticated art rock with an emphasis in exploring contrasts as described.

Report this review (#251834)
Posted Thursday, November 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
2 stars Bear with me a second. Here is a band that want us to be happy, and consequently, within this album they have embedded various forms of brain wave stimulation known as Binaural Tones. These tones are scientifically proven to enrich feelings of relaxation, focus, creativity, and happiness through inaudible changes in audio frequencies. Apparently. I don't know about feeling happy while playing this, but I found it to be quite a choppy mixed-up album that is somewhat confusing to listen to. They can go from Meshuggah style polymetric passages into Muse soundscapes without warning and the result is that I came away thinking that they were very clever at what they are doing, and that they are good musicians. Didn't like it a lot though...

For me this is too all over the place, and that there is no real rationale behind it. Now, I can listen to "unusual" music more than most, and in many ways, this is actually mainstream, but I found myself getting frustrated and unsettled as opposed to being put into some sort of artificial nirvana. Some of the tricks such as the sound of a needle on vinyl at the beginning of "Peril" I found annoying, and as for the sounds at the end of "Inside The Womb" they just went on for way too long. I listened right to the very end just in case something interesting happened, but it didn't.

I am sure that there are many out there who will hail this as a masterpiece, and I have seen a few reviews comparing them to Riverside, but while there are some musical similarities at times, the Polish band is so far removed in terms of material to be on another planet. Not one to which I can see myself returning.

Report this review (#1676338)
Posted Thursday, January 5, 2017 | Review Permalink
The Crow
2 stars First, Jolly are not Neo-Prog!!!

I don't know who labelled them in this style, but they make a mix between metal, alternative rock with interesting elements like jazz, soul and even cabaret music. But Neo-Prog? Not at all!

And what's with this first release of the band? I think they had not reached enough maturity as a band when they recorded this album, because it feels disjointed, strange and not really focused. A pair of good tracks are mixed with tons of mediocre ones, making the hearing of this record really challenging on its integrity.

The potential of the band is there, nevertheless. The drumming is very good, the guitars loud and clear, and Anadale sings in an interesting and very personal style. But the cocktail was not well mixed yet!

Best Tracks: Escape from DS-3 (a strong opener, one of the best), Red Sky Locomotive (another fine up-tempo song) and Carousel of Whale (an interesting song divided in two clear sections)

Conclusion: Jolly showed tons of potential in this album, but they failed in the songwriting. The production is good and the musicianship superb, but the songs feel disjointed, strange and not good accomplished. And the worst fail of all: the album is boring.

Luckily, they learned from their mistakes and with the two parts of The Audio guide to Happiness they reached a great level!

My rating: **

Report this review (#2080671)
Posted Monday, December 3, 2018 | Review Permalink

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