Thursday, June 19, 2014

Happyness: "Weird Little Birthday" (album review)

If you are looking for a soundtrack for a lazy hazy summer, then you need look no further than Weird Little Birthday, the new album from London group Happyness.

Chills come over you the moment the vocals kick in on the opener "Baby, Jesus (Jelly Boy)".  It's eerie just how much it sounds like Mark Linkous has been resurrected.  "Regan's Lost Weekend (Porno Queen)" serves up a healthy dose of Linkous' sense of humour to go with the sound.  The heavier "Refrigerate Her" is reminiscent of some of the more fiery Sparklehorse material.

A fuzzy hooky groove sucks you into "Naked Patients".  It's super laid back with just the slightest hint of Foster The People.  On top of having an incredible title, "Great Minds Think Alike, All Brains Taste the Same", is unquanatifiably (if that's a word) catchy.

Things slow down further on tracks like "Orange Luz" and "Pumpkin Noir".  It's on the nearly 9-minute "Weird Little Birthday Girl" that the band hit full-on Yo La Tengo territory.

The record's standout cut is "Lofts".  It blends that Yo La Tengo sound with some biting lyrics from a scorned lover.  The juxtaposition of a hushed voice delivering lines like 'oh, you're such a whore' and 'there's something in you that can make you such a slut' really takes you back (in a good way).

It's easy to envision oneself sitting on the dock overlooking a calm lake with nothing but a cold beverage and this charming, unhurried record to keep watch over you in your blissful solitude.

Best tracks: "Lofts", "Naked Patients"

Track listing for Weird Little Birthday:

  • Baby, Jesus (Jelly Boy)
  • Naked Patients
  • Great Minds Think Alike, All Brains Taste the Same
  • Orange Luz
  • Refrigerate Her
  • Pumpkin Noir
  • Anything I Do Is Alright
  • Weird Little Birthday Girl
  • It's On You
  • Regan's Lost Weekend (Porno Queen)
  • Leave the Party
  • Lofts
  • Monkeys In the City

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