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Marillion - Happiness Is The Road CD (album) cover





3.35 | 641 ratings

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The Crow
Prog Reviewer
4 stars What a surprise!

After the very good but maybe not excellent "Somewhere Else", and after only a year after its release, my expectations about "Happiness is the Road" were moderated. But to my surprise, it's a great double album, almost reaching the quality of the masterpiece "Marbles".

The style of this new Marillion statement is not really different from the last "Somewhere Else", but perfectionated and more cohesionated. Taking the best prog moments of "Marbles", the usual amount of pop elements, and a renowed epic feeling wich brings the best moments of the first Hogarth's albums, "Happiness is the Road" is a catchy album, full with great details, and marvellous songs.

The first Cd, "Essence", is specially fine... I like every track on this one, being maybe the most luminous and happy Marillion's album to date. This train is My Life, Wrapped up in Time (wich remembers me to You're Gone from "Marbles"...), Wokes Up (I love this one!), Trap the Spark, Happiness is the Road... This album is simply excellent, showing a band in top form!

Sadly, "The Hard Shoulder" doesn't reach the outstanding level of the first Cd... Although It's proggier, less pop, and darker. It has great tracks, like Thunder Fly, Specially True, Real Tears for Shale, the precious Older Than Me... And a curious return to the "Anoraknophobia" style in The Man from the Planet Marzipan. But it also has Whatever is Wrong with you, a failed Marillion's attempt to sound more actual, and Asylum Satellite One, wich is a bit dull. Nevertheless, the level of this album is also very high, specially the tracks I named before.

Conclusion: although "The Hard Shoulder" is under "Essence" in quality in my opinion, "Happiness is the Road" works really good in its integrity... The first Cd is happier, offering the best pop-prog that Marillion can do. The second one is deeper, proggier and more experimental, but it also has great songs. So if you call yourself a Marillion aficionado... You must hear "Happiness is the Road", because together with "Brave" and "Marbles", is their best album from the Hogarth's era (ok, "Afraid of Sunlight" is also great...)

"Essence" rating: *****

"The Hard Shoulder" rating: ****

The Crow | 4/5 |


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