happyness-main

May 7th 2015

The beauty of Happyness’ debut was within its idyllic craft of hesitant, melancholic acceptance. Drizzling, reflective guitars depicting the most obtrusive of sun-kissed comedowns; Benji’s deadened vocals wording out in his Elliot Smith overtone; the reluctant rhythms; truly the perfect antidote for any Sunday morning flashbacks. And within Manchester’s subterranean Soup Kitchen the insecurity rained. Their inaugural releases’ title track ‘Weird Little Sister’ – the trio looming, mesmerised in their relevant grooves with their eyes shut up – was full of tired, sensual solos and possibly the most restful auras replicated live. The precedent set.

Happyness’ are renowned for their playful, youthful lyrics; epitomised by their NME Award win earlier this year. ‘It’s On You’ – “you said you didn’t like the government of our school
You’re so cool, you’re just like Robin Hood” – was spirited with the impromptu blues attributes again at the crux of their sound. Benji’s vocals fornicated with Jonny’s; generating a collage of warmth against the stinging bite of distortion. “I’m the mother f*cking birthday boy don’t steal my thunder, I’m baby jesus,” warped within its musings through ‘Baby, Jesus (Jelly Boy)’s cooled allure but without doubt the most perfect depiction of the twisted identity of the Londoners was found through ‘Montreal Rock Band Somewhere’. The piercing bass melody that is Peter Hook fashioned through its contagiousness – allowing the trembling passages of chords to body – allow the lines “I’m wearing Win Butler’s hair, there’s a scalpless singer in a Montreal rock band somewhere” to emerge. Outlandish, but brutally engaging.

For the expansive scores that regularly erupted throughout Happyness’ 50 minute showing, abrupt sound-bites smashed; conveying the group’s darker Pavement stylising. ‘Great Minds Think Alike, All Brains Taste The Same’ – massive hooks implode, biting with the ever-loose beats – and ‘Anything I Do Is All Right’ – packed with buckling patterns, it’s another track that entangles elements of the blueprint Happyness and their hardened edge – were soon frosted again with ‘Naked Piano’; piano used again to intensify the skeleton upon which the accepting murmurs of the trio are based upon.

Happyness are kings of vacillation. There is something so boyish that fluctuates at their core, it creates smiles as easily as it does desolation. Soup Kitchen’s showing was a true reawakening of ‘Weird Little Sister’ and their relaxed onstage persona’s only fuelled the Happyness fire. A band full of complications and perfections, tinged with the most crushing of grunge wistfulness.

Words by Clive K Hammond

MORE

BLOSSOMS, INTERVIEW, CAMP BESTIVAL
FOR many the last few years have absolutely flown by. Election after election, tragedy after tragedy, humane coming together of community, solidarity, Iceland, the year of the celebrity death, Pokemon Go. Too much to remember. Yet for four lads, who unbeknownst to them spent the whole of their lives living within 2km of each other, […]
NICK MULVEY, INTERVIEW, CAMP BESTIVAL
“WHEN you’re finished changing, you’re finished,” is how the antiquated adage from founding father Benjamin Franklin goes. That ability to be flexible and change when the time is right. Hundreds of years-ago that famous line was uttered, but it’s never felt more relevant, and for former modern-jazz-turned-songwriter-come-newly-christened-father Nick Mulvey, changing and maturing has always been […]
JOE INNES & THE CAVALCADE, FOREIGN DOMESTIC POLICY, INTERVIEW
“You know with this climate at the minute everything is changing,” London-based Joe Innes tell Quenched Music. With his new album ‘Foreign Domestic Policy’ taking years to finally arrange, it’s hardly surprising it’s become a labour of love for the self-confessed post-Brexit indie songwriter. “It took it’s time but that’s because in the time I […]
COMMON PEOPLE, SOUTHAMPTON, LIVE
AS THE final stragglers danced their way from the Common People main stage, the filthy sounds of favourite headliner Sean Paul still ringing around the ears, it was time for the organisers to reflect on how successful this year’s festival was. 40,000 flocked to Southampton’s Common in anticipation of yet another Bank Holiday jaunt on […]
SIMPLE MINDS, MAYFLOWER THEATRE, SOUTHAMPTON, LIVE
IN SIMPLE terms the word ‘acoustic’ means not having electrical amplification. But as Glaswegian new-wave act Simple Minds triumphantly demonstrated to a packed house at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre, definitions are subjective. You would be forgiven for expecting longstanding Minds members Jim Kerr, the idyllic vocalist and endearing frontman since the group first formed in 1977, […]
CARELESS PEOPLE, CHARLOTTE OC, ALBUM, RECORDED
FOR SOMETIME, Charlotte Mary O’Connor – aka Charlotte OC – has been the electro-soulstress on the cusp of brilliance. Her 2013 track ‘Colour My Heart’ remains one of the darkened pop classics that finally distanced her from the bratty pop career Sony had once dreamt she would have. And in the four-years since, critics, fans […]