Happyness at Rough Trade West
This is not just another indie band. Rough Trade West is an unlikely place for a gig, but the informality and intimacy of this tiny venue punctuates the raw quality of the music. Happyness is made up of three South Londoners, their dry humour translating into their moody music. Despite their London roots, there is a distinct all-American drawl in their music, melding together country and indie in floaty melodies. They are slow and subtle, a far cry from current house and electronic trends in the music industry, reminiscent of The Smiths and Joy Division with less punk and more expertly hidden emotion.
Performed not on a stage but on the floor of a record store, the first song from their EP It’s On You has excellent balanced sound, the band’s delicate whispery voices creeping through the crowd. An upbeat love song to the transition between teendom and the arrogant 20s: “You said I’m an anarchist, communist, feminist, phlebologist…yeah, right” encapsulates perfectly the sentiment of this cavalier period. A faint feeling of melancholy runs throughout their entire set, Weird Little Birthday Girl proving to be a hilly tune, bringing to mind the image of an absentminded hand hanging out of a convertible waving over the horizon on the south coast of the USA.
Totally stripped-back production with sombre chords and a predominant reliance on their soft vocals reverberate through their fragile yet strong music, which swings seamlessly between punk and country tones. Happyness close the set with Lofts (the penultimate song on album Weird Little Birthday), a bittersweet track relating to the feeling of homesickness during a disappointing party and the attempt to hide in company.
Their charm lies in their ever so slightly acerbic lyrics and their hazy guitar, creating an easy-listening, relatable EP and first album. Whilst it may be difficult for Happyness to continue their success where the space for indie bands is reaching capacity, their attitude and promising spunky tones make them one to watch.
Photos: Natalia Cifuentes
For further information and future events visit Happyness’s website here.
Watch the video for Great Minds Think Alike, All Brains Taste the Same here: