My Rating: 9/10
Genre/ Tags: Pop, Punk
Today’s record comes from three piece band Happy Birthday. They hail from the hilariously named town of Brattleboro, Vermont, and if it wasn’t for this band, I don’t know how else you would have heard of Brattleboro. The band is comprised of Kyle Thomas on lead guitar and vocals, Chris Weisman on “inverted-tuning” guitar/bass/vocals, and drummer Ruth Garbus. And if anybody can shed some light on what exactly “inverted-tuning” guitar would be, please do!
The Sub Pop description of the album says that the songs are mostly the work of Kyle Thomas, while the rest of the band helps arrange and put the finishing touches on them. Apparently when Kyle Thomas originally wrote the songs, he was a bit “too scared” to play the songs alone, so he went out and recruited band members to play with him. They played one show together, and they enjoyed it so much that they continued to be a band together! How awesome! We’re so lucky they enjoyed it. If they hadn’t, I probably wouldn’t be writing this right now.
The material on the album could most easily be described as pop music, and I don’t think many would argue. The album kicks off with the wonderful first track “Girls FM”, complete with gorgeous choruses, fuzzy bass lines, jangly bells, and the power to put a huge smile on your face. Kyle Thomas sings “I’m always on the frequency – Girls FM, Girls FM” talking about none other than the opposite sex, which becomes clear immediately after hearing the song for the first time. It’s probably a good idea to let you know now that these songs have the power to seep into your brain and linger around for days. I’m not kidding. I listened to “Girls FM” at least 30 times last week, just check my Last.fm charts. The worst part of it all is that “Girls FM” is only the first track on the album, which means you have another 10 tracks to become addicted to once you finally take “Girls FM” off repeat.
Other tracks sure to get stuck in your brain are “2 Shy”, and “Perverted Girl” which includes some awesome guitar soloing and some great little licks throughout. “In a perfect world I’d be perverted girl!” screeches Thomas towards the end of the song, suggesting that our world isn’t quite what he’d like it to be. The following track on the record “Subliminal Message” is a love song of sorts, with Thomas again speaking to the opposite sex. This time he’s attempting to send his loved one a subliminal message in hopes that she will want to be his girl – “You say you don’t wanna be my girl, but will you just be anyway?” says Thomas. About halfway through the track you’ll find a nice guitar lick too, all while Thomas claims “Without you I just go mad.”
This album definitely caught me off guard, and I think it will do the same for you. If the mp3’s below decide to work, then you should listen to them right away. If you like the mp3’s, why not buy the record? Not only will you own the songs, but you’ll have that wonderful record sleeve featuring their all-to-awesome minimalistic album cover – it’s just a bent music note, but it’s so cool! I think I know what I want my first tattoo to be! Just kidding Mom.
PS – Titus Andronicus show tonight. Also check out their show from Fords, NJ while you’re at it.
Happy Birthday: Tracklist
1.) Girls FM
2.) 2 Shy
4.) Perverted Girl
5.) Subliminal Message
6.) Eyes Music
7.) Maxine the Teenage Eskimo
8.) I Want to Stay (I Run Away)
9.) Pink Strawberry Shake
BUY the self-titled LP directly from Sub Pop, and don’t forget to pick up their new single on Record Store Day this Saturday!
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