Since the release of debut single ‘It’s On You’ in 2013 and album Weird Little Birthday Happyness have had a busy few years supporting the likes of The Dandy Warhols, Suede, and Mac DeMarco and the stages of festivals such as SXSW, Green Man and Bestial. The band are soon set to make more waves with the release of their sophomore record Write In.
Lyrically Write In comes across less abstract than Happyness’ previous work with their infamous lines regarding a scalped Win Butler, the instrumentation and arrangements are fuller and more developed, perhaps evolved from a more extensive experience of live performance, something lacking within the writing of it’s predecessor which was written and released after just a hand full of shows.
Recorded in the bands now demolished Jelly Boy Studio, Happyness are certainly not afraid of wearing their influences on their sleeves with each song paying somewhat of a homage to a different iconic artist. Album opener ‘Falling Down’ bears a vocal strikingly similar to Girls front man Christopher Owens while the quirky McCartney-esque piano lead ‘the Reel Starts Again’ could happily fit into Wayne Coyne’s back catalogue. ‘Anytime’ sounds as though Thurston Moore’s guitar and microphone were left switched on in the studio before Happyness’ arrival and ‘Uptrend/Style Raids’ could almost be an unclaimed vocal cameo from Bradford Cox.Much like their well-documented heroes the band also share the ability to write very good pop songs. The album sees a focus on songwriting and fully developed ideas delivering ten well crafted tracks, and although alternative and college rock trademarks are prominent throughout Write In, it is the influences taken from the likes of the Beach Boys, Kinks and Beatles which give it it’s accomplished feel and set’s the band apart from many of their peers, something guitarist Jon EE seems to acknowledge:
“I think this record is saying, ‘there’s a massive world outside this little American alt-rock sphere we were looking in on, like The Kinks. Or The Move! I don’t think the anti-earnest thing we had is as present anymore. Part of what’s opened up is just being able to be tender or heartfelt without feeling guilty about it.”
Write In winds through a beautiful arrangement of fuzzy, dreamy, and often-hypnotic instrumentation crossing genes along the way. Vocal contributions from both Jon EE and Benji Compston provide well placed laid-back melodies and each track is packed with enough hooks and sonic character to keep you drawn in. However you would be forgiven for thinking Write In was the product of a sun drenched, Californian, weed infused, sepia tone nostalgia and not three pasty men in the upstairs of an old South London bookshop.
The album is out via Moshi Moshi Records on the 14th of April and you can catch the band on UK tour dates in the same month. Watch the video for album opener ‘Falling Down’ below.