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Album Review // HAPPY. ‘Cult Classic’

Wrapped up in melodic hooks and heartfelt lyrics, Cult Classic is a journey in pursuit of happiness without ever forgetting who you are.

“Happiness is subjective and you are the only person that can be in control of your happiness and you get to determine the things that make you happy”, that’s the message the South Carolina’s band Happy. send out in their debut album Cult Classic. From ups and downs that life throws at you, through expectations and disappointments that come from love and heartbreak, to finally reaching the phase of self-acceptance, they remind us how important it is to always stay true to yourself and find positivity even in the most hopeless situations.

Opening with a lo-fi feel of How To Lose A Girl In 1:45, the band’s punk sensibility and old school influences pierce right through. As the title suggests, the track rounds up in exactly 1 minute and 45 seconds but it doesn’t stop Happy. from going from mellow acoustic vibes to a full-throttled rock jam in an instant. Reminiscent of a seasonal fling, the song is a roller coaster of emotions and sounds we are more than willing to begin with.

Bringing back the thrill and rawness of the early 2000s punk vibes, the band suitably champion self-defined happiness alongside positivity and personal growth. With a sense of nostalgia and carefree attitude added to the mix, their sound oozes with catchiness, shaping up an unexpected melodic disorder.

Acting as a separate story in its own right, every song makes an integral part of the compilation resulting in a cohesive piece of work. The band’s debut single Don’t Overdose And Drive is an empowering cut about picking yourself up during the hardest of times and remembering no matter how low you get, you can always get yourself out and reach the top. As the chant-like parts align with crisp rhythmic sections, we bond over the lyrical twists such as “Cause we’re not in love / I’m convinced it’s just the drugs”.

Elsewhere on the record, Winona Ryder sees the band explore the infatuation that some guys have with the idea of a “manic pixie dream girl” that doesn’t exist. With a darker tinge underlying the melody, the track rolls on electrifying guitars and propulsive drums that ricochet off each other, expanding into an intense soundscape. Lucky on the other hand, flows on a catchy and upbeat chorus that will make your hips sway here and there with a hint of recklessness, while the lyrics exude wit and irony once again.

Hurt and angry, Happy. experience many stages of a bad breakup in Drowners, a song that is my personal favourite on the album. Translating feelings into notes and chords, they allow the swift tempo changes to become a mirror to their emotional state. From a delicate strumming of a guitar, through a thrilling guitar solo, to an outburst of impassioned vocals and heated lyrics, the track is a sonic marvel that is sure to resonate with many listeners.

And then there’s I Call Shotgun, a brilliant song about  feeling like you have no control in a relationship, just like riding passenger in a car you aren’t in control, no matter how much you try. Soaring on the adrenaline-charged rush of invigorating guitars and fast-paced drums, it is a track designed to make you feel everything at once.

Showing a more contemplative side, they ask: “When was the last time you were happy?” in Wonder, a ballad-esque poignant offering that will make you reflect on your life. Introspective lyricism stings with a melancholic tinge as we’re slowly falling into the sentimental hooks, moments before getting lost in an energetic maze of the closing track Where The Wild Things Were.

Incorporating old school elements into the modern soundscapes, Happy. shape an authentic record that could indeed become a ‘cult classic’ in time. It’s not overly produced, it’s genuine and raw what makes the stories captured on it that more real. Whether you’re lost and broken, or pretty happy actually, you’re gonna find at least one gem on this album that your soul simply needs right now.