Happyness - Weird Little Birthday (March 23, 2015)
Happyness is... three cheeky lads from South London. Their slapdash approach to writing and recording music means that roles within the band remain fairly fluid, but Jonny Allan and Benji Compston do lead vocals and Ash Cooper does drums. The trio formed in 2013 and, after several false starts, recorded their debut eponymous album and an EP at their own Jelly Boy Studios, a one-time carpentry warehouse and butterfly commune an hour or so outside of London. Bar/None came into the picture for the re-release of Happyness' first full-length, Weird Little Birthday, in the United States, gussied up with a few bonus tracks that originally appeared on the EP and new track from 2015.
Pop Matters summed up the band's approach simply: "Happyness’ main plan is simple: have Compston whisper some clever/cynical lyrics over lo-fi strumming, toss out a few gentle hooks, and keep it chill/weird, man, which is to say Pavement after a Fall-ectomy. 1990s Amerindie has its adherents and modern-day practitioners (Yuck, California X), and Happyness fit right in with that crew." The band's also drawn comparisons to Granddaddy, Teenage Fan Club, and Wilco. UK's Guardian opined, "Happyness switch effortlessly between fuzzy pop and downcast, desolate ballads, alternately thrilling and charming," while NME added, "London trio Happyness might have adapted their sonic template from American college/indie rock bands like Pavement, Rilo Kiley and Sparklehorse, but the wit and lyrical context of their music is all British."
Currently working on their second album, Happyness will release a stop-gap EP on September 23 and have just released the video "Anna, Lisa Calls." "This is our first phone-call song and our fifth song in E Major," the band notes. We eagerly await more.
Happyness: Glenn and Mark gave us a copy of I, Brute Force: Confections Of Love just before our last US tour - and have sent at least one email since urging us not to be TOO influenced by it. I think we've probably done 3000 miles or so soundtracked by that record. Last time we were in New York [to start another US tour], we somehow ended up at a pool party (if you can call it that) with Glenn & Mark to celebrate the opening of a new condo opposite the Bar None offices where there was a free buffet and a handful of plastic flags/deflated balloons. I think Glenn knows the super and so we had a way in. We wanted to find a nearby guitar store in order to pick up the cheapest electric guitar we could find (we briefly had the idea of Benji playing a second guitar with his foot through a Big Muff for one song, it never quite worked out), so Glenn drove us down to 'Guitar Bar' in Hoboken where we managed to pick up a tiny red electric guitar for $30 - we still have a pick from 'Guitar Bar' in our studio somewhere as something of a momento. Bar None have released some of our favourite records by some of our favourite artists (The Feelies - Crazy Rhythms & Yo La Tengo - Fakebook among them), so being on their label is very special for us.
|Happyness crashing a U.S. pool party. Where are the balloons?|
BrooklynVegan.com announces new Happyness EP
Weird Little Birthday review on PopMatters.com