Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Cassette Review: happy hell "focus on the better things in life" (Captain Crook Records)
[$1 // Edition of 15 // https://captaincrookrecords.bandcamp.com/album/focus-on-the-better-things-in-life]
When I listened to happy hell's "i think i blew it" I still remember how hard it was to put into a genre. There was a distinct acoustic sound to it which I compared with some other artists, though not directly, and yet now as I listen to "focus on the better things in life" I cannot hear those same comparisons anymore. It has gone away from the singer-songwriter type of solo cassette with a big feel to a full on band sound. In that way it does remind me a bit of Stars Are Insane because you never quite know what to expect with happy hell now and that's not a bad thing.
The melodies on this cassette fall somewhere between EFS and Belle & Sebastian, but you know, in a good way because B&S aren't my favorite but they are far from the worst. I can hear pieces of a band like Phantom Planet who I still to this day don't have a better comparison for and their song "The Guest" still pops into my head every so often. Through the drumming it has more than an acoustic feel and not just because the guitars seem to be electric, but it's also a bit dreamy and overall pleasant. I'm not sure why but I also want to put in a Jack Johnson comparison for some reason.
The thing about this cassette and the happy hell one which came before it is that I'm going to think of happy hell now in the same way that I think of Stars Are Insane simply because I'm never going to be certain what version of the artist we will be hearing when the next cassette comes out. In all fairness, there is a new cassette by happy hell on Captain Crook Records- which I will be getting soon enough, I know it- and for all I know it could be instrumental. So while I might never quite know what to expect from happy hell I at least know it will be good.