The Austin Chronicle

SXSW 2015 Records

Reviewed by Greg Beets, March 20, 2015, Music


Weird Little Birthday (Bar None)

This isn't some obscure 20th anniversary reissue, but such assumptions are only natural. Sounding like they haven't combed their hair in days, Happyness juxtaposes the shambolic indie rock of Pavement with tweaked snatches of lo-fi eccentricity that deeply betray the trio's south London pedigree. A fair number of memorable songs pop up amid the scattered languidity. "Great Minds Think Alike, All Brains Taste the Same" revels in a sardonic Saturday haze that would've made it an alt-radio adventure pick during the Clinton administration. "Pumpkin Noir" goes one better with a solitary piano refrain that perfectly complements its numb club kid point of view. There's even a wry Arcade Fire piss-take on "Montreal Rock Band Somewhere." Unfortunately, like untold numbers of their Nineties forebears, Happyness gets filler-happy in taking advantage of compact disc capacity. A quaint shortcoming, but one that undermines the album's cohesion. (Thu., 1am, Valhalla; Sat., 11pm, Latitude 30)


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