Happyness might sound relatively serene, but underneath the calm waters lies a sharp sense of humor and craftsmanship. The trio only formed last year, but they spent six months’ worth of Saturdays jamming and recording at a studio in South London. There, songs like “Great Brains Think Alike, All Brains Taste The Same” were born, alongside the central conceit of their debut album Weird Little Birthday (a boy born on Christmas is jealous of Jesus stealing all his birthday thunder). It’s safe to say that the band members don’t take themselves too seriously, but that little bit of humor helps the melancholia go down just a bit easier.
Musically, Happyness takes its cues from ’90s slacker forbears like Yo La Tengo and Pavement, but the subtle studio trickery recalls Sparklehorse and Grandaddy at times. On “Leave The Party,” Happyness are the quiet at the center of an emotional storm. A rumbling, melodic bass line and a steady drum beat drive the song forward while harmonies, organ, and guitar color the edges. Just as it hits its stride, Happyness pulls the floor out from the song, leaving it to drift out under an ambient haze.