Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Album of the Year: #2 Happyness - Weird Little Birthday

Rewind to the August 2nd 2014, a bright summer's day. As I dodge guy-ropes, soft sound-waves drift into my ears. I eventually reach the small main field of Knee Deep Festival to find a group who's name I've heard banded about here and there but whom I had not properly listened to yet - Happyness. For the next 25 minutes I would be transported out of the small Cornish field and into a musical paradise.

That day the South London trio won me over not only with their beautiful indie sound but with their chilled out but hilarious persona. "This is another song about pregnancy and mother care" was murmured as the band jumped into their album's title track "Weird Little Birthday Girl". On this track frontmen Benji Compston and Jonny Allan's two guitars calmly skip along hand in hand before being joined by delicate Eels style vocals.

The band's humour can be found all over the album, from it's sleeve which claims that Benji plays (amongst other instruments) "air synths" to the lyrics such as "I see people come in twos/Just like breasts do" taken from album opener "Baby Jesus (Jelly Boy)". The opener is one of the album's wonderfully chilled out songs along with tracks like "Regan's Lost Weekend (Porno Queen)". These tracks are what first lured me in as I sat on the sun drenched Knee Deep grass. Despite their slightly melancholy sound, the trio still made it work in a blissful summer festival environment.

However, the album is definitely not all calm, "Refrigerate her" is a moment of fuzzy indie rock goodness. Ash Coper's steadily beating bass drum pounds away at the part of your brain that makes your head rock backwards and forwards until it bursts into life. "Anything I do Is All Right" summons up the spirit of 90's indie rock gods Pavement as a wobbling guitar screeches and squeals.

2014 has given us more than our fair share of great debut albums from Eagulls and King of Cats (both of whom appeared in my top five albums of the year list) to the likes of Superfood and Fear of Men. Weird Little Birthday takes the prize of my favourite debut album of 2014 and I feel lucky to have been at Knee Deep on the 2nd of August to experience it's beauty first hand.

Happyness have released an epic new version of "Baby Jesus (Jelly Boy)" as part of Art Is Hard Records 'Pizza Club' which you can check out here.

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