While there seems to be a revival of bands looking back into the 90s for influences from bands from the Grunge and Britpop scenes. Happyness are looking in other places in that era and are influenced by the likes of bands like Pavement, Weezer and early Wilco. The London three piece are likely to make a big splash with their brand of low key, slacker rock.
Happyness make use of very dreamy, fuzzy guitars playing gently and there are tender whispering vocals throughout the most part of the album. Take the 8 minute song ‘weird little birthday girl’. This song stays at the same rhythm pretty much the entire way through while the guitarist doing some interesting fretwork and the gentle vocals come in every now and again. It’s a song that never drags yet stays so simple the entire way through. Many of the songs that are shorter follow this suit in that they’re just as gentle and simple yet are sublime, such as the song ’pumpkin noir’ which features gorgeous piano work and clean electric guitars in the backdrop. Other songs on the album pick up the tempo a bit like the song ‘refrigerate her’ which definitely has influences from Pixies in that the vocals sound more twisted than the rest of the album. ‘it’s on you’ has them sounding their most like Weezer with the vocals sounding their least whispery and one of their most powerful choruses on the album. The song ‘leave the party’ features them singing with a female counterpart in perfect harmony over the top of a bass guitar jamming and an acoustic guitar in the background. For such lazy pop music they show a great range on the album, it always feels fresh even though it’s a band owing so much of their sound to bands of the past.
Thematically the album is partly about a boy who’s birthday falls on the same day as Jesus Christ’s and he’s jealous of him. Odd though it may be it’s intriguing none the less with lyrics like ‘I’m the mothefucking birthday boy/ don’t steal my thunder baby Jesus’. What this album appears to be about for the most part though is the many trials and tribulations you have to deal with as a teenager, jealousy being one of them. The album touches on sexual themes and how being bad feels so good as a teenager. Take the song ‘lofts’ which is a song sung in a soft, almost romantic way about people at a party as he observes life there and lists the things he finds intriguing about the lifestyle all the while knowing it’s wrong and immoral. There’s so much dry humour in romanticising things on this album such as the softly sung line ‘you are so ugly when you’re smiling’ on the song ‘Orange Luz‘.
This is the album that you didn’t know you wanted, neither the revival sort of music you would expect this year. But because of the lyrical satire and the fact that these 13 songs are so superbly put together in a gentle, romantic way, it’s one of the most enjoyable debut album you’ll find this year.