NME Awards Show: Happyness at BirthdaysCultureMusicLive music
Critically acclaimed as a slacker rock, “jangle-gaze” three-piece, Happyness follow in the tradition of acts breaking from a British sound. The release of their debut album Weird Little Birthday, marked at Birthdays in Dalston in a niche and novel participation in the NME Awards Show 2015, is their first milestone. Adept at producing slick pop tracks, the South London trio are most at home with darker ballads that take poetry and give it a punchline.
“Just now, I felt my own hair through my T-shirt – like in a children’s book” lead singer Ash Cooper remarks to the packed basement, which rather captures the tone of tonight’s performance – comic, cloying and kooky, with an atmosphere both intimate and understated. The buoyant, riff-driven tracks Great Minds Think Alike (All Brains Taste The Same) and Pumpkin Noir act as a tonic to the more sonorous, sobering Baby Jesus (Jelly Boy) and Weird Little Birthday Girl. Lyrically minimalistic, Happyness imbue their more subdued music with nostalgia and grit. The effect is that of being party to a conversation that’s impossible to passively consume. While an eerie, crisp elegance characterises the record, their live performance is stripped back to throaty vocals and grungy guitar that give a new life to the tracks’ infectious melodies. Happyness is worth seeing live for a different, less finished experience of an album with content seemingly adaptable in any space.
Though undoubtedly an adventurous act with a clear vision for itself, the concept is still embryonic. An otherwise inviting set lacks a certain cohesion, attributable in part to the act’s still elusive sense of identity, though established in the indie camp – echoes of The Cure’s Robert Smith are present, and there are parallels with I Am Kloot’s John Bramwell. Striving, sultry and stubbornly strange, Weird Little Birthday warranted a weird little gig. It’s early days for Happyness, but they can look forward to many candles on their coming birthday cakes.
For further information about Happyness and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Anything I Do Is Alright here: