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Happy the Man

The Guggenheim Grotto

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Album Review

For centuries, the word "melancholy" has been used to describe certain songs — maybe not the artist in general, but certain songs by that artist. Since the 1990s, however, the word "melancholic" has been used more and more to describe an artist's work in general. What's the difference? Bebop king Charlie Parker, for example, had his share of melancholy performances but also had plenty of optimistic, uplifting performances; Nirvana, meanwhile, are often described as "melancholic" because darker emotions dominated their work. And the word "melancholic" easily describes the Guggenheim Grotto's Happy the Man. That is an ironic title for this adult alternative effort because the Guggenheim Grotto bring a very world-weary outlook to contemplative tracks like "Heaven Has a Heart," "Just Not Just," and "Everyman"; Happy the Man isn't a very optimistic album, but then, it isn't obligated to be. Darker emotions have inspired an abundance of memorable music over the years, and they work well for this Dublin, Ireland-based band on Happy the Man. The Guggenheim Grotto not only have a strong sense of alternative pop/rock craftsmanship — they also have plenty of feeling to go with it. So while Happy the Man isn't exactly a cheerful album, it is certainly a worthwhile album. It is the epitome of the word melancholic, which isn't a bad thing considering how nicely-crafted the material is. Musicians need to be true to themselves, and if the Guggenheim Grotto had written a bunch of cheerful songs just for the sake of writing cheerful songs, they might have ended up with a less inspired album. Being melancholic is a definite plus for the Guggenheim Grotto on Happy the Man.

Customer Reviews

the guggenheim grotto are a treasure from ireland

I've been a fan of The Guggenheim Grotto since I first came across their debut Waltzing Alone back in 2006 and got to see them live. I was attracted to the great vocals and lush arrangements which made every tune a worthy listen. Happy the Man did not disappoint, it varies from upbeat pop/rock (Fee Da Da Dee, Her Beautiful Ideas) to more introspective straight from the heart songs like Everyman and Lost Forever. This is an absolute must for fans and a great introduction for newbies (if you are a newbie you must go check Waltzing Alone).

Long-awaited sophomore release does not disappoint!

After instantly falling in love with their debut, ...Waltzing Alone, I could not wait for this Dublin-based trio-turned-duo to release something else. After being teased with the Tigers EP, I knew I would not be disappointed. Has the potential to sit on top of the iTunes Folk Chart, just as their debut did!

Better than before!

I only had Philosophia from their previous album but now I find myself loving every song on this album!

Biography

Formed: Dublin, Ireland

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '00s

The curiously named Guggenheim Grotto are a folk-pop trio from Dublin, Ireland, consisting of Kevin May (vocals, guitar, keyboard), Mick Lynch (vocals, guitar, bass, viola), and Shane Power (drums, keyboard). In 2003 May and Lynch began playing together in Dublin and soon recruited Power after he had done production work on their first EP, A Lifetime in Heat. The group's first full-length album, ...Waltzing Alone,...
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Happy the Man, The Guggenheim Grotto
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