4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The Better Half,
This review is from: Happiness Is the Road, Vol. 2: The Hard Shoulder (Audio CD)
The Hard Shoulder is the second disc of Marillion's Happiness Is The Road double album, and if forced to choose between the two this is the better purchase. As a whole, the complete Happiness Is The Road album feels like a culmination of the band's gradual development into a sort of progressive 'space jazz' sound over the last decade. At it's best it makes Marillion sound unique and contemporary (such as on most of the sublime 'Somewhere Else' set last year). But at weaker points (e.g. The Only Unforgiveable Thing, Angelina, Thankyou Whoever You Are) it can sound little more than MOR begging for airplay, albeit sometimes with more complicated musical structures to the songs. Thankfully, The Hard Shoulder (unlike its companion piece) comprises mainly examples of the former. Highlights? 'Thunder Fly' simply rocks; 'Whatever Is Wrong With You' rivals far younger, trendier outfits with it's driving hook; 'Real Tears For Sale' is touching and relevant; and 'Throw Me Out' is fresh and innovative with bags of musical ideas. But highlight is the outstanding 'The Man From Planet Marzipan' which exemplifies all the reasons why Marillion remain the most under-rated band in the UK.
There are a couple of better Marillion albums than The Hard Shoulder, but this is by no means their worst. Park up and enjoy!