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The Guggenheim Grotto
Happy The Man
United for Opportunity
www.guggenheimgrotto.com


Musical artistry and brilliant poetic lyricism, when combined, make for some of the finest music the world has ever known. If lighter techno-pop is what you like to listen to, then The Guggenheim Grotto is more than a music fan could wish for. Their musicality is tremendous… combining the best parts of Erasure, Camouflage, and even Orchestral Maneuvers In The Dark, their tunes are catchy and inspiring, at once hooking the listener and creating an immediate addiction. Add to that harmonic mastery a keen sense of lyricism and modern poetry and you have a hands-down winning combination.

"Fee Da Da Dee" is filled with harmony vocals and chord structures that recall the finest laid back moments of OMD. The simple, sheer beauty of the song is enhanced by a sharp wit that molds the English language to its own purpose as Kevin May quips, "Imi imi I think I'm getting it/Our heads are haunts for the ghosts of alphabets/our hearts are tigers chasing tigerness…" The band turns to a bouncing Erasure-esque FM sound on "Her Beautiful Ideas" before taking an acoustic turn on the lovely "Everyman". Here, the band drops its electronic front for a more mellowed, near-folk sound that shines in the same way that the finest relaxed moments of Glen Phillips or Darren Hayes seem to hold. The songs on Happy The Man continue to evolve and morph, playing out straight-ahead AAA rock ("Sunshine Makes Me High"), darker Filter-ish dirges ("The Girl With The Cards"), and even a song that draws heavily from the same wellspring as Information Society's "Repetition" (Nikita"). May and co-conspirator Mick Lynch write songs that revolve around the wonderful circus that plays out in their own lives and minds, imparting their music with a fresh realism that is so often lacking in modern music.

Happy The Man is front-to-back a beautiful symphony of a record, recalling the musical ingenuity of Sergei Prokofiev; taking various instruments and sounds and using them to create the perfect palette to ably translate the song's emotions to the listener. Here, a set of strings and brass section breathe life into the love song ("Lost forever"), while other-times shakers and mandolin-esque sound imparts an air of imaginative wonder ("The Dragon"). The Guggenheim Grotto is living proof that magic still exists in the musical landscape and that there are hidden gems of bands that hide in the world, waiting patiently to be found by an appreciative ear.

-Embo Blake

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