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
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.
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