Reviewer: Lisa Wright
Released: 1st May 2020
Label: Infinit Suds
London’s Happyness have never been a band to deal in cheap thrills, with sonic quirks and lyrical oddities always nestled beneath the melodic slacker rock surface. And if their semi-recent interpersonal changes - they’re down to a duo, with drummer Ash Kenazi now performing in drag - can be heard within third LP ‘Floatr’, it’s in the way that Ash and singer Jonny Allan lean into these traits more than ever: the delicate ‘When I’m Far Away (From You)’ is so fragile it could break any second, whereas single ‘Vegetable’ takes in a cast of unlikely characters including tub-thumpers Chumbawumba and drag queen Jujubee. Across the record, there are affective swells and unexpected turns nestled within every gentle vocal and heady, heart-wrenching chord progression. ‘Floatr”s title track opens the album, building into a dense, piano-led, defiant crescendo, while it’s hard not to find something poignant in ‘What Isn’t Nurture”s closing line (“With a little make-up, I’ll be numb to anyone at all / I’ve been so unbelievably impatient anyway”). Emotional yet playful, soft yet strong, Happyness’ newest is the sound of a band fully settled in their own skin.
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