Happy Birthday’s history reads something of a dream for any aspiring band out there. Having formed in late 2008, the three piece were snapped up by legendary Seattle indie label, Sub Pop, after just four live performances.
Front man Kyle Thomas definitely wears his influences on his sleeve for the duration of this record and while there may not be with much substance beyond the lustful boy meets girl three minute ditties, a few dirty guitar chords thrown in the mix with some electronics, there are a handful of catchy tunes worth checking out.
The opener, ‘Girls FM’, with its grungy start/ stop jagged guitar chords has all the makings of a pop classic, while the introspective ‘Shy’ will have nervous teenagers locking themselves in their rooms for a year wishing someone would throw them some loving.
Kyle’s vocal range has the ability to go from falsetto to Kurt Cobain back to Marc Boland in the space of about 30 seconds, which although impressive, leaves you asking yourself what direction the song is going to take next, which most of the time, descends into either a 1950s American pop song or distorted madness.
In tunes such as ‘Eyes Music’ there is definitely a hint of a band that is capable of heading into the experimental and avant garde. At times however, Kyles’ lyrics are a tad bit odd and juvenile, particularly on the minimalist punk anthem: ‘Zit’, where he declares “Now I want to break shit don’t want to make shit”.
It’s clear Happy Birthday can write a half decent tune or two and it is perhaps the reason they were signed up so quickly, but there is definitely a feeling that this debut is more a jam in rehearsals, than a finished product. Not a bad start though.