Once again, with their sophomore release The Audio Guide to Happiness Part 1, I'm not sure whether to take progressive alt rock band Jolly seriously. Once again they proffer something strange: Jolly claims they have "devised a therapeutic auditory experience scientifically designed to bring the brain to a state of pure happiness." Previously, on 46:12 Minutes of Music supposedly contained a binaural brain wave phenomenon previously unheard of in rock music. As Jolly explains:
Embedded throughout the album are binaural tones, which result from the combination of slightly offset frequencies played simultaneously, thereby altering the brain's natural frequency. Scientific research suggests that such tones can enrich feelings of relaxation, focus, creativity, and happiness when experienced in headphones.
Of The Audio Guide to Happiness, Jolly ups the ante, or so they say (scientifically proven, of course):
It is a self-reflective sonic journey scientifically tailored to guide the listener through the strata of his/her own emotional make-up. The listener is subjected to musical mood dynamics and key lyrical triggers while the brain is fed corresponding binaural tones. These tones are carefully and deliberately interwoven within the music to support all appropriate peaks and valleys throughout the experience.
There's more, if you unconvinced or intrigued; you can probably find it on their web site. I think it's bullshit; I believe Jolly is just messing with our heads, before the music does.
Most certainly what makes the listener happy with The Audio Guide to Happiness is the simple fact that Jolly delivers another solid work of progressive rock seasoned with some alternative flavor. Songs like Ends Where It Starts, The Pattern, or Where Everything's Perfect finds Jolly combining their diverse and clever arrangements with elements of heaviness, subtlety, ambience, and pop sensibility. The latter song, Where Everything's Perfect, reminds of an early Genesis/Gabriel cut with U2 or Muse on steroids. Another song, Joy, are simply magical compositions that feature brilliant composition and the superb talent of the musicians (Anthony Rondinone on bass is most notable here.) That pop sensibility and radio-friendly cleverness comes on the toe-tapping, sometimes heavy, and riff happy Pretty Darlin'. Sounds like something Crack the Sky might pull off.
Whether you buy the whole binaural tone manipulation of your brain or not, Jolly's The Audio Guide to Happiness Part 1 is a brilliant piece of progressive rock craftsmanship. Definitely a leap forward to their debut and, hopefully, a vision of more to come. Strongly recommended.