If you were at Happyness’ London Birthdays show earlier this week, chances are you’re still wringing the sweat outta your clothes. I know I am. The fast-rising slackers’ last hometown headline show, in November, saw them bring with them onstage a six-foot statue of Jesus. The trio needed no such divine intervention to impress this time, careening through tracks from last year’s fuzzy first album ‘Weird Little Birthday’ with breathless urgency, to a rammed and rowdy Birthdays crowd. “This could go pretty wrong,” bassist Jonny Allan confessed to the audience before a debut live airing of plaintive piano ballad ‘Reagan’s Lost Weekend’ – but that’s them all over. Happyness are at their best when flirting with disaster. From short-and-sweet garage-rock churn ‘Great Minds Think Alike…’, premiered here a little while ago, to Wilco-ish anthem ‘It’s On You’, their mix of Sparklehorsey melancholia and cheery grunge-pop dips in and out of thrashy guitar dissonance, forever threatening to fall apart at the seams. It’s part of what makes them so thrilling.
Their new single ‘A Whole New Shape’ is no different, honing rather than evolving their brilliant debut’s alchemy of sweet, breathy melodies and scrunched noise. A bouncy three and a half minutes of lamenting lyrics (“I wanna take it all back”) and low-slung Pixies scrawl, the track’s set to feature on a deluxe edition of ‘Weird Little Birthday’, out on March 30 via new label Moshi Moshi. If you love bands like Wilco, Pavement and Built To Spill and aren’t all over this band already, for the love of Christ, their sometime stage-mate, get listening – starting with the brilliant ‘A Whole New Shape’ below.