Happyness - ‘Write In’ (Moshi Moshi) Print
CD Reviews
Written by Jonni D   
Thursday, 23 March 2017 04:00

Happyness - Write InHaving made some ripples with their 2015 debut ‘Weird Little Birthday’, collecting an NME award during the album cycle, Happyness are ready to drop their sophomore effort, ‘Write In.’ While the former release was a solid collection of songs heavily indebted to US college rock, albeit brimming with more vim than many of their American counterparts, the follow up takes influence from a considerable number of sources and expands their sound significantly. Put plainly, ‘Write In’ is a stunning achievement: bathed in tumbling melodies and luscious soundscapes, these songs gather in layered progression like snowballs hurtling downhill.

 

Opener ‘Falling Down’ begins as a relatively simple chord progression, with the gradual, subtle build of melodies and counter-melodies swelling into a densely layered piece of music. The languid, droning effect with the steady rise to a crescendo is a technique used a few times on ‘Write In’, and it’s got a hypnotic quality while still being melodically accessible.  There is a strain of 80’s and 90’s alternative music throughout the album, peppering the runtime with sufficient variety and twists along the way.

 

‘The Reel Starts Again’ mixes the power pop of Jellyfish with early R.E.M. with requisite bounce and an instantly hummable chorus, while ‘Anytime’ has the same lo-fi charm as Ash circa ‘1977.’ Brian Wilson’s influence looms large over the piano led ‘Through Windows’ and the sugary, yet slightly ominous harmonies of ‘Anna, Lisa Calls’, providing a challenging, but gratifying listen with their obscure hooks, much like the aforementioned Beach Boy.

 

It’s in the moments where Happyness veers off into quirkier territory that ‘Write In’ is cemented as a truly unique piece of work. ‘Uptrend/Style Raids’ is essentially a 6 minute song based around a strange, meandering guitar line but it warrants every second of its runtime with its transfixing, serpentine structure. ‘The C is a B A G’ is lyrically the most obtuse song on the album, but the tumbling, esoteric sounds of the song have a familiarity with the more obscure material on The Beatles’ White Album. ‘Tunnel Vision on Your Part’ rounds off the album, a serene grungy lullaby, akin to Radiohead’s ‘No Surprises’ with its twinkling textures but slightly morose delivery.

 

Sometimes, it’s the unexpected gems that leave the greatest impact: although this album may not be on an awful lot of people’s radar for upcoming releases, but for anyone who comes upon it, they will find what is bound to be one of the most atmospheric and satisfying listens of the year.   A special little album from an exceptional band, ‘Write In’ has set the precedent for alternative rock in 2017.

 

‘Write In’ is released on 14 April.

 

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