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Jolly: The Audio Guide To Happiness Pt 1

Interesting to say the least! Jolly have come up with an idea of using binaural as part of their recording for The Audio Guide to Happiness Part 1, their second album, a process I believe they also used on their debut. For those not in the know, basically binaural is a sound process that is best heard through headphones, to help induce relaxation, meditation, creativity and other desired mental states. The version I heard was impressive, especially the shower audio. Don't ask! Does it work? Yes it does, the demo's I heard of this in the early 90's where very convincing. Does it work here? That I'm not to sure about, as the download I got of this album was MP3, a lossy medium, so the frequencies have already been manipulated. Having played the album several times through headphones, I wasn't convinced it worked, probably due to the earlier explanation. Let's be honest does an album warrant gimmicks like this?

So let's move onto what is presented here. The band offer twelve songs, that all sound vaguely familiar in their presentation, sounding like a bastardization of such bands as Tool, Mastodon, NIN, Muse and Porcupine Tree yet still walking that fine line of originality. Musically the band is cohesive with interaction that walks the boundaries of melodramatic prog mixed with elements of alt rock, which seems to be popular at the moment. The album kicks off with a spoken word segment that makes it sound like you are participating in some form of experimentation, which is the case several times throughout the album. Those fears are soon allayed when the music kicks in proper. It's not long before the band start plying their trade, a balance of light guitar work, with heavier sections woven in, ambient and interesting keyboard work and bouncy punctuation from the bass and drums, all tracked with some rather excellent vocals from Anadale, making it the equivalent of an aural rollercoaster ride. The album finds perfect balance of being assertive and staid in all the right places, which is what makes the whole affair work so well. ". The whole album is both fluidic and atmospheric with the standout tracks on the album being "The Pattern", "Storytime", "Still a Dream", "Radiae" and the haunting "Dorothy's Lament"

Whether you give any credence to the binaural hype, with an album title stating that this is part 1, be under no illusions that we can more than likely expect more japery from the Jolly camp.


Track Listing
1 Guidance One
2 Ends Where it Starts
3 Joy
4 Pretty Darlin'
5 The Pattern
6 Storytime
7 Guidance Two
8 Still A Dream
9 Radiae
10 Where Everything's Perfect
11 Dorothy's Lament
12 Intermission

Added: March 27th 2011
Reviewer: John OBoyle
Score:
Related Link: www.jollyband.com
Hits: 2331
Language: english

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Jolly: The Audio Guide To Happiness Pt 1
Posted by Jeff B, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-03-27 10:10:41
My Score:

The Audio Guide to Awesomeness

It's not every day that you hear a progressive metal album based on the idea of binaural therapy and meditation - which is exactly what New York-based quartet Jolly have done here. The Audio Guide to Happiness Part 1, the band's second full-length and first for the prestigious Inside Out label, is an album that intends on bringing the listener to a meditative state - whether or not that's actually the case depends on the listener. All I know is that Jolly have created a concept album that is masterfully crafted and seldom disappoints. The Audio Guide to Happiness Part 1 is filled with excellent compositions, tight musicianship, a stellar production, and a unique take on the progressive metal genre; there's not much more I can ask for! My only complaint (and it's a fairly small one) is that the spoken word portions can sometimes interrupt the flow of the songs, but it's a minute and "nitpicky" issue when one considers the general quality of the material here.

The Audio Guide to Happiness Part 1 is a pretty unique album - I can't say I've ever heard anything like it. Aside from the obvious influences from binaural therapy, the music is a unique blend of pop-prog, metal, and atmospheric rock. The album title is misleading, to say the least - this music is not particularly "happy", and often very dark and atmospheric. I'm often reminded of bands like Porcupine Tree, Opeth (minus the death growls), Happiness Is the Road-era Marillion, and even tads of Pain of Salvation. This may not sound revolutionary on the surface, but it actually does come across as one-of-a-kind and extremely eclectic. All of the songs are well-composed and memorable; there's no weak link here. A few of my favorites are "Joy", "Storytime", "Radiae" (the vocals in this one are breathtaking), and "Where Everything's Perfect".

The "technical" aspect of The Audio Guide to Happiness Part 1 is excellent and a major asset to the release. The musicianship is excellent across the board, and the production is equally terrific. Heavy riffs blend seamlessly with atmospheric and hypnotic sections thanks to the stellar production.

Conclusion:

I didn't really know what to expect when diving into Jolly's latest effort, but multiple repeated listens have left me highly impressed by The Audio Guide to Happiness Part 1. I really didn't "get it" the first two times around; this is a case where giving it a few more shots really pays off. I'd recommend any fan of atmospheric progressive rock/metal to give this top-notch effort a spin. My rating here will be a big 4 stars (maybe even 4.5 stars in time). If you like concept albums and plenty of killer material to go along with them, I have no doubt that this album will blow you away!



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