Thursday, May 20, 2010

Happy Birthday delivers the goods

Artist: Happy Birthday
Title: Self-titled LP
Label: Sub-Pop Records
Release date: Winter 2010

Kyle Thomas of King Tuff fame has outdone himself yet again with his newest band, Happy Birthday, and their Sub-Pop debut LP.

Album opener “Girls FM” is the real diamond here. There’s no telling how many plays this song has gotten at 7 Inch Atlanta Headquarters since I snagged a copy of this LP in late March. This song, like most of the album, is bizarre enough to appeal to us overgrown punk kids and is well written and sounds clean and professional enough to please the pickiest indie rock connoisseur. Few bands possess that kind of crossover appeal. I guess that’s why this group is on Sub-Pop, right?

This album comes out the gate stong, and it does not let up. In fact, all eleven tracks are keepers.

Tracks like “Cracked”, “Maxine The Teenage Eskimo”, and “Subliminal Message” allow Thomas to step outside of the powerpop box that perfectly packages his King Tuff persona and write equally good yet more experimental songs.

More mellow numbers like “Perverted Girl” and “Fun” show off Thomas’ songwriting skill almost as well as his King Tuff material.

There’s plenty of variety on this album beyond the experimental and mellow. “Zit” is a balls-out punk song, and those never get old. Towards the end of the album, you’ll hear songs in “I Want To Stay (I Run Away)” and “Pink Strawberry Shake” that make it sound like Happy Birthday would rather be the modern answer to Electric Light Orchestra than The Rolling Stones.

Come December, this, along with the debut long-players by Dum Dum Girls and Crusaders of Love, will be in the album of the year argument.

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