Nov 2013 01

Jolly - The Audio Guide to Happiness (Part 2)Jolly
Category: Experimental / Rock
Album: The Audio Guide to Happiness (Part 2)
Stars: 3.5
Blurb: A satisfying concoction of progressive rock, full of tonal complexity and emotional songwriting to appease a broader range of tastes.


The more experimental forms of rock and metal music, typically falling within the range commonly referred to as progressive or prog rock/metal, have never been afraid to incorporate electronics and the harder edged atmospheres of industrial. One need only look as far as such bands as Tool, Meshuggah, and even King Crimson for proof. As such, New York’s Jolly – a.k.a. The Incredible Jolly – achieve a depth of sound and style on this second part of The Audio Guide to Happiness, continuing where the first part in 2011 left off.

Beginning with a robotic female voice urging listeners to complete the first part before pursuing the album, then veering into a psychedelic soundscape of distorted ambience and meditative voices, the album begins with a grinding display of musical prowess on “Firewall.” The sheer force of thunderous bass, guitar, and drums moving through ever changing time signatures complemented by flourishes of celestial keyboard immediately brings to mind the likes of Dream Theater, with Anadale’s passionate vocals shifting through harmonious emotions immediately sends the listener through a whirlwind of sound; such is the basis for the band’s modus operandi, resulting in a form of aural bliss. Tracks like “Dust Nation Bleak” with its guttural yet grooving rhythms giving way to a twinkling array of ambient and acoustic arpeggios, or the reverberating electronics and off kilter progressions lending an almost jazzy quality to the anthemic “Despite the Shell” showcase a wide range of motifs, demonstrating Jolly’s musical proficiency. The choruses are epic and catchy, uplifting in their melodious feel, devastating in their grandeur; this is particularly so on “The Grand Utopia,” which could easily please aficionados of Yes, the almost orchestral arrangement of keyboards and theatrics evoking conceptual pomp and whimsy. On the other end of the spectrum is the darkly emotive “You Against the World” with its radio-friendly power giving way to a playful reggae/dub style bridge, while the saccharine electronic flair on the throbbing pop rock of “Lucky” will surely remind some of early-to-mid ‘80s Rush.

As the Jolly drummer Louis Abramson’s home was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in October of 2012, taking much of the band’s equipment and recording space with it, this album came close to never seeing fruition. As a result, The Audio Guide to Happiness (Part 2) not only achieves a dynamic emotional balance for the listener but for the band as well, as shown by the intensity of the songwriting and production. All in all, the album presents a cohesive and ultimately satisfying concoction of modern progressive rock, full of enough instrumental complexity to please the most ardent musician, topped off with just the right amount of poppy flavor to keep it appealing to a broader range of tastes. In this is Jolly’s greatest strength and weakness as the band’s own voice seems so much an amalgam of all the flavors of prog rock that the desire for straightforward simplicity is sure to sink in for the casual listener before the album’s end.
Track list:

  1. Guidance Three
  2. Firewall
  3. You Against the World
  4. Aqualand and the 7 Suns
  5. Dust Nation Bleak
  6. Golden Divide
  7. Guidance Four
  8. Lucky
  9. While We Slept in Burning Shades
  10. Despite the Shell
  11. As Heard on Tape
  12. The Grand Utopia

Jolly Website
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Inside Out Music Website
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Century Media Website
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Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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