With their latest release, Leave the Party, the South London trio take on yet another alt rock giant and come away sounding even more self-assured.
College/alt rock is always a tricky genre to be pitched into. Not least of all because of the fluid definition of the term but all too often you can wind up with some unexpected and occasionally unwelcome company when being namechecked alongside a ‘for fans of” list.
So far Happyness have drawn the right kind of comparisons and deservedly so, being listed alongside the likes of Yo La Tengo, Sparklehorse and Pavement, the later being particularly pertinent to the jocular single ‘Great Minds Think Alike, All Brains Taste the Same’.
On Leave the Party, the band lose a bit of the newly found swagger displayed on Great Minds for something decidedly more timorous. Not that lines like Kill everyone at the party/Head right home are delivered with anything less than the kind of deadpan insouciance the band have become noted for, they just might have to be taken a little more seriously.
Its the same mix of fragility, morbidity and humor that made Yankee Hotel Foxtrot Wilco’s best album and its hard not to hear echoes of ‘Pot Kettle Black’ and especially ‘Kamera’ here. As on those songs, a melodic bassline, steady drumming and acoustic guitar are all thats needed to provide a sparse but melodic backdrop that never gets in the way of the lyrical conceits.
There is a definate confidence in keeping things simple and Happyness continue to prove that they have the wit and intelligence to make engaging alt-pop without any distracting bells and whistles.