[REVIEW] HAPPY. – Cult Classic by Pauline Campbell

Happy., are a pop punk band from Columbia, South Carolina, who are aptly named regarding the vision they choose to portray with their music. At times, their work is bright and cheerful, akin to a Saturday afternoon in the summer; but there are points where the band touches on contrasting low points, which is reflected in the blunt period within their band name. A few weeks ago, they released their debut full length, Cult Classic.

How To Lose A Girl in 1:45 staples the tone for the rest of the record, starting with bright slowly paced luau music produced to sound as if it’s being broadcast on an old radio, and from there switching to a sound that is reminiscent of early Blink 182 if they were fronted by Charlie Simpson. A facet of this record that I enjoyed the most was the way that Happy. cohesively meshed together elements that if done by a less creatively articulate band, wouldn’t have worked. The lyrical content of Winona Ryder, with lyrics such as “Darkest of dens/Is where we will fit in/Don’t underestimate my capability/To be your favourite sin”, is deliciously reflected in the tasteful use of the bass guitar throughout the song. This is mixed in with a surf punk Agent Orange type sound, which gives the song a unique and agreeable character. Also, there’s a guitar solo in Drowners, that again should not work, but for some reason it does.

Don’t Overdose and Drive is pretty safe in sound compared to the rest of the album but is otherwise palatable and cohesive. The chorus has a certain snappy feel to it that I would place with faster songs in the genre, which is delightful to hear, and truly showcases the band’s promising composition skills. There are however, some low points on the record in terms of songwriting. I Call Shotgun is not the band’s finest minute; I felt the whole track was a little juvenile and dated. The vocal melodies lacked assertiveness, which I also noticed in Fishtank, and the dynamics between sections could have been better developed. Happy. have proved that they are more than capable of writing fitting vocal melodies, as seen in Drowners, and they do have a good grasp on dynamics in Where The Wild Things Are, which I feel is the strongest song on the record. Where The Wild Things Are is the track that made me interested in reviewing this album; the chorus is catchy and dark, with the perfect amount of grit for the band’s style. I am almost offended on the song’s behalf that it was placed last on the record.

For a band that is relatively new, Happy. have proved themselves to be worthy of their contemporaries. By combining contrasting styles and moods, Cult Classic stands as a striking debut album, that has a distinctive and enjoyable individuality not often seen in the initial efforts of most bands of the genre.

Keep up to date with Happy. via Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

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