There is something especially fascinating about good rock ‘n’ roll trios: If they’re musically adept, if their songs are great, and if they’re firing on all cylinders, then, as the cliché has it, they cannot be beat.
Happyness is like that.
The British trio, who have arrived wittily and with necessary great songs in tow, have made their mark with their fascinating debut album Weird Little Birthday, just issued here by Bar None Records. Get it, hear it, love it or whatever, but at the very least get a sense of what they’re all about via their recent trip to Austin’s South By Southwest fest.
The adept and good-natured trio—consisting of Jonny Allan (guitar/bass/vocals), Benji Compston (guitar/vocals) and Ash Cooper (drums)—surprised many with their sophisticated but oddly laid-back sound, which to many American rock critics vaguely recalls the likes of Pavement, among others. As a result, you’ll often see references to Happyness and the term “slacker rock” in the same sentence—just like they are here!--even though no one, band or rock critics included, has any notion of what that term actually means. So it is written, so shall it be!
Those who witnessed the band’s Up Close performances at Brazos Hall, on the other hand, had very few questions about what they were watching. Whether it be the inherent humor of the song titles and subjects—“Montreal Rock Band Somewhere” and “Pumpkin Noir”—or the sharp-but-restrained angularity of their playing, there is something to be found in the music of Happyness that is unique, clever, and not really like anybody else at all.
Are you happy? Because they are.