JOLLY - The Audio Guide To Happiness (Part II)

Jolly - The Audio Guide To Happiness (Part II)

12 songs
56:13 minutes
***** ****
Inside Out


Two years ago, New York based prog rock quartet Jolly left an exceptional impression on me with the first part of The Audio Guide To Happiness. The band claimed that their music contains sound sequences that put the listener into a state of ecstasy. Now Jolly are back with the second part of their ambitious project. The cover artworks of both albums show strong parallels, making it obvious that they belong together like yin and yang. One thing’s certain: their music didn’t bring the band much luck. Über-drummer Mike Portnoy had a lot of nice words for the guys, but Hurricane Sandy wasn’t inclined that way and destroyed one of the musicians’ houses which contained all their equipment. Thanks to a fund-raising campaign by their fans, they were able to purchase new material.

As on the debut, the album begins with a short intro where a chilly female voice explains what the audience can expect during the next short hour. And then Jolly continue where they left last time. The band plays modern progressive rock owing a lot to popular bands from the Nineties (Rush, King’s X). But that is definitely not all. Jolly’s music is full of mood changes, and on Firewell they even add a strong portion of metal. This is rather exceptional though. Jolly occasionally like to rock, but normally they stay in mid-tempo territory. This doesn’t have to be boring though. Aqualand And The 7 Suns is a wonderfully dreamy track. Soul influences can be heard on Golden Divide which should appeal to fans of Joe Jackson. Guidance Four comes with strong keyboard parts that should make the modern prog rock faction happy. And as on the predecessor, there is one track, Lucky, with lots of keyboards that recall the Eighties.

I only pointed out a couple of tracks to underline Jolly’s variety. The Audio Guide To Happiness (Part II) can be listened to from beginning to end without one moment of weakness. It is just as strong as the first part, and even though the moment of surprise may be gone, this sequel can be labelled a full success.

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