Last June (2014), Happyness released their debut album 'Weird Little Birthday', which received some extraordinary critics, The Guardian described it as “charming UK slacker-rock”, the Sunday Times named it as one of the best 100 albums of the year and NME offered them an Award for Best Lyric in 2015. On the 30th of March, the self-produced album was re-issued adding 4 bonus tracks to the previously acclaimed 13 tracks. The whole album is a long, but not exhaustingly lengthy, indie celebration with an exceptional production considering the short history of the South London band that was formed in 2013. And it is definitely weird!
If you are looking for tasty guitar riffs and solos, rhythmic twists, low-fi, distorted vocals and controversial lyrics that flow in between looseness and groove, 'Weird Little Birthday' has it all.
It evokes a mediocre sense of darkness and jealousy however the trio’s brainy puns that create some remarkable and contentious lyrics, leave you in motion with a sweet nostalgic feeling sourced deep in your adolescence and the crazy little things you might have thought or done back then.
The band’s style is evident from the intro 'Baby Jesus' that comes with a slow guitarist tempo, vocals that speak on top of the music with a discrete distortion and detail the story of a boy that is deranged by jealousy because he shares his birthday with Jesus. And weirdly the song was recorded in a church!
Among my favourite tracks is 'Naked patients', Its uplifting melody and gauzy vocals describe “something so funny about a sick body” but its adept guitars and warm sound do not leave space to feel sorry about its condition and the fact that “it is doing things it should not do”.
The album keeps rocking along the same lines. You will hear lyrics such as “you are so ugly when you are smiling” courtesy of 'Orange Luz' and ballad-like retrospective tracks such as 'Pumpkin Noir' that lack romance but intelligently create their own emotional set.
But it's not all about melancholy and recollection of memories, 'Refrigerate her' kicks with an elegant amount of distortion, to hit as an revolutionary punk rhythm of lo-fi vocal and low key distorted guitars.
The relentless guitars, put the room in motion from the first second of 'Anything I Do is Alright' and 'Great Minds Think Alike, All Brains Taste The Same' entails a more pop rock sound that along with its lyrics elicits a peculiar strangeness.
The 4 new tracks have a more introspective nature. 'Montreal rock band somewhere' draws upon an amazing melodic chords structure and laid back vocals and is followed by the down tempo, melancholic and low-fi 'Stop Whaling' that sounds like a more distorted version of 'Orange Luz'. Despite its monotonous rhythm the crying vocals and its controversial lyrics, they all contribute to its uniqueness.
'You come to kill me?!' is classic slacker-rock piece with varied pitch and purposely isolated distorted guitar riffs that creates a rich instrumentation.
The collection’s finale comes with the grungy 'A Whole New Shape' that is ultimately transforming with its moving melodic tune, evoking a powerful punk vibe.
'Weird little Birthday' is one of those albums that induce you to listen again and again to a point that you lose counting but you keep listening.
The record was mixed by Adam Lasus (Yo La Tengo, Daniel Johnston) and somehow bound to college rock tunes such as Sparklehorse. Ed Harcourt also borrows his vocals on 'Pumpkin Noir'. You can stream the whole record on spotify and also catch them on tour this May. The band will land in London on the 13th at the Boston Music Room.
Baby, Jesus (Jelly Boy) [3:36]
Naked Patients [4:41]
Great Minds Think Alike, All Brains Taste The Same [1:56]
Orange Luz [3:10]
Refrigerate Her [1:18]
Pumpkin Noir [4:29]
Anything I Do Is All Right [2:04]
Weird Little Birthday Girl [8:57]
It's On You [3:00]
Regan's Lost Weekend (Porno Queen) [2:45]
Leave The Party [3:09]
Monkey In The City [2:15]
Montreal rock band somewhere [5:04]
Stop Whaling [6:45]
You come to kill me?! [2:15]
A whole new shape [3:26]
Happyness are: Ash Cooper, Benji Compston, Jonny Allan
Review by Eirini Gialou