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Marillion - Happiness Is The Road CD (album) cover





3.35 | 641 ratings

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The T
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars An improvement over its predecessor, but too long for its own good.

MARILLION had, until this year, released only two real good albums during the Hogarth era: Brave, and more recently, Marbles. 2007's Somewhere Else was a disappointment, so I was not expecting much of Happiness is the Road. When I first heard it, my expectations were confirmed. But after repeated listens, it's safe to say that this is the third-best album in the second-era of the legendary neo-prog band.

The album, divided in two discs, still has a few flaws. It's still too long, which in the end can only mean that there are some songs that should have been left aside. MARILLION had a successful double-album with Marbles, because most of the songs were at least good. This time around, many of them feel like filler material, and that's why Happiness is the Road can't achieve the level of quality of that 2004 double disc release.

But when the album succeeds, it does it without compromise, true to the new MARILLION-style of slightly-progressive, atmospheric, calmed modern rock. Songs like "Wrapped up in time" have some of the nostalgic magic that the band gave us in their best times. The band can also, eventually, rock it out, in tracks like "Whatever is wrong with you", though Hogarth's voice is at its best in moody, darker songs like the short-epic that closes the fist album, the title-track, which is also the best in the whole work.

This is not Fish-MARILLION but a very rich Hogarth-MARILLION album that needs to be judged on its own merits. If someone doesn't like it because it's not progressive enough, it's not the band's fault, but the listener's, for not being able to understand that, after more than 20 years, this is no longer the same band. Judged as a piece of modern rock with progressive tendencies, or better yet, as a piece of music, Happiness is the Road is a flawed success.

I give this album three stars, which could've been four had the record been a little bit shorter (maybe as a single disc). I recommend, though, to any prospective listener, to give it time to grow, which it will definitely do.

The T | 3/5 |


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