Album Review... Happyness - Weird Little Birthday

Being patient is quite a quality to have. Upon hearing Happyness’ self-titled debut EP, it’s inevitable that myself and others have been sat on the edge of our seats. The agonising wait has finally come to an end, and my oh my, the South London three piece have done a marvellous job.

The opening track, ‘Baby Jesus (Jelly Boy)’, kickstarts the tremendous journey through a forest filled with lo-fi vocals and melodic, lullaby-esque guitar tones. The track dodges past old trees effortlessly, adding baggy bass-lines and soft drums to create a unity of lo-fi goodness past the thick of the forest. It’s unbelievably difficult to not add imagery to this track, and the album as a whole. You simply can’t ignore the fantastic lyrics either, they swerve in and out of odd confessions, drawing the listener into the wonderful world within this track. It’s fairly simple to say that ’Baby Jesus (Jelly Boy)’ is a majestic start to the 11-track blinder of an album.

Happyness certainly thrive in their beautiful, melancholy tracks, but we can’t forget about the more upbeat, and equally outstanding tracks. ‘Naked Patients’ is a personal favourite, and how could it not be? The band turn into some sort of cohesive substance when it comes to this track; everything is just right. The infectious ‘oohs’ and the chilled tones combine to create 4 minutes and 41 seconds of pure adventure, mischief and glimmering goodness. There’s a sense of wholeness within the lo-fi vocals that joke childishly about the human body. There’s also a gist of youth that springs out from the guitar solos and the mellow drum sound, and somehow everything seems alright. ‘Naked Patients’ is some sort of magical lullaby, and it surely transforms Happyness into three, magnificent, musician magicians.

Another fantastic track is ‘Lofts’. The intro is wonderfully misleading, drawing the listener into thinking the track will just dwell in a melancholy, ambient state. Of course, the woeful tones hang about with the lo-fi vocals and the enervating lyrics that simply target the hardships of love. But as the intro falls away, an unexpected light at the end of the tunnel appears, and the bluesy bass-line dances effortlessly into the haze of grey clouds and despondent vocals to create a shimmer of light. The main charm of ‘Lofts’ lies in the contrast between the bitter lyrics and the charming, divine instrumentals. The contrast is so grand that it soon becomes an equilibrium, and unfailingly catapults the listener into a quest filled with angst, delicacy and impeccable sounds.

Not only do Happyness have a tendency to prove themselves consistent and outright worthy, but they also have the ability to give the album a proper close. The final track, ‘Weird Little Birthday Girl’, is 9 minutes of bliss, or near enough. As proved on their debut EP, Happyness swirl in and out of soothing instrumentals that become so ingrained in your mind you’ll be convinced that everything is ok. Not a second is wasted when it comes to this track. The 2 and a half minute intro emphasises the talent of the South London three-piece. Memorable lyrics soon become entwined with the legitimate cool of the melody, and evolves into a 9 minute quest of clean guitar solos, soft drums and mopey baselines that gel together to boost any appreciation for the band.

It’s stunning to see a new band create such a masterpiece in a short period of time. I’m not sure I will experience the same content feeling that I got with the first listen of ‘Weird Little Birthday’, but I guarantee I will not forget it. Happyness have nailed the modern, lo-fi, slacker sound that I would deem to be as good as their influences (Yo La Tengo/Wilco/Sparklehorse). Happyness have blown their profile off the charts with this 11-track offering, and I can only hope they get every bit of appreciation as they deserve.

Happyness - Weird Little Birthday
Out of 10: 9/10

Written by - Cerys Kenneally

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