10 January, 2014 in Music Reviews
Happyness make the journey from indie rock pretenders to dream pop darlings during the course of this fine debut EP
hese days it’s almost impossible to walk down the street without bumping into the newest devotees of the church of Pavement. Such is the deification of Malkmus and his esteemed cohorts that there is no longer any doubt concerning the notion of there being a ‘post-Pavement’ sound. South London trio Happyness, with their self-titled debut EP, are the latest group to preach the book of Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. Or so they would have you believe.
Opener It’s On You has the languid playfulness that’s dripped all over Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. With a vocal that recalls the ‘Uhhh uh ooohs’ inserted into the ironic hooks of Pavement’s anti-pop classic Cut Your Hair and a fine appreciation for the verse-chorus approach that defines college rock, it draws, catches and cements your attention. All of which comes with the simple caveat that the remaining three tracks do something a little different.
Orange Luz is the first track to move Happyness beyond the post-Pavement sound, with its beatific solemnity. It takes the wistfulness of Sparklehorse’s superb Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot and adds the heartbreaking but hopeful self-reflection of Eels’ Electro Shock Blues. It’s one of the EP’s finest tracks, marking the band out as purveyors of an indie-rock inspired dream pop and leaving you hooked on their approach.
Following with the brilliant Lascascadas, a song with vocals so hushed it’s near instrumental, the band throw a little of Blur’s exceptional 13 into the mix, with a moody number that’s near claustrophobic. Montreal Rock Band Somewhere rounds things off very nicely, making another strong call to be the record’s best number. Certainly it has the most addictive bassline that Happyness have produced, the sort that Placebo’s Stefan Olsdal would kill to have written. Aligned to guitar licks dreamy enough to have been ripped from Slowdive’s canon, it makes for a fitting close to a very promising EP.
Though it’s still early days for Happyness they’ve happily laid down their marker as one of the more interesting guitar pop bands currently in operation, making the journey from Pavement-inspired indie-rockers to elegant dream pop act within the space of a 15 minute EP. With this in mind, Happyness are a band whose musical voyage you should pay close attention to.
Verdict: A great EP that suggests even greater things lie ahead