After much anticipation, Los Angeles indie pop band The Happy Hollows releases its first full-length album this fall. For those lucky enough to have seen the eclectic group live on campus at KSCRfest last semester or for those who where hooked on its Imaginary EP, the wait is finally over. To say that this album will put a “spell” on you is an understatement.
On Spells, this three-piece band combines rock, punk and pop in a very noisy yet catchy and overly compelling manner.
Sarah Negahdari is the lead singer and guitarist for the band. She combines an angelic voice with loud guitar strumming and finger-tapped arpeggios under a disguise of an eccentric and mischievously sweet little girl. She encompasses all it is to be unique and popular at the same time; in a way she embodies the indie music scene today, eccentric but “in.”
Next to Negahdari, Charles Mahoney (bass/vocals) and Chris Hernandez (drums/vocals) bring a special groove to the band that makes The Happy Hollows stand out. Such a grooving rhythm section in punk-rock is hard to come by in today’s fast paced musical world.
Although they would be catalogued correctly as punk or rock, The Happy Hollows internalizes these sounds and come out as something more experimental yet pleasant to hear. They are not afraid to innovate and break all boundaries to get a great sound. They are a band that will soon stand out and be pioneers while we try to start defining the sound of our next musical decade.
With the release of this album, due out Oct. 6, The Happy Hollows breaks from being another cool band you heard in a local venue and become a band that tours the country, at first with other bands and later headlining their own shows. Their musical career will take a turn for the better and will let the world see and hear what we Angelenos have for a while now.
The first song on the album encompasses perfectly the norms the band makes and breaks. “Faces” starts out with a choppy yet catchy riff that is then is accompanied by a grooving bass line and relaxed beats. The voice is never flat and carries the song melodically into the chorus.
“Silver” is another great example of how the band is not afraid of innovating and, although the song is intimidating at the beginning, it is later very entertaining.
The song starts out as a dance-y beat, and then is accompanied with an overdriven and compressed voice. After an initial reaction of dislike, the song turns into a head banging masterpiece that harks back to the times when Smashing Pumpkins and Garbage ruled music, very similar to what The Silversun Pickups bring to the table.
The lyrics in the songs are at once surreal and universal. They take us through kaleidoscopes of the feelings we once lived or thought we lived in our childhood. Who’s afraid of the monsters in my room? / I like them, is a line taken out of the childhood of a boy who has grown up and thinks he understands life. In the end, the boy is just upset that he lost his innocence and he tries to get it back through indie music.
One of the only critiques of Spells is probably that it is too long to be a debut album; 14 songs are too many to catch new fans’ attention quickly. On the other hand, there are plenty of songs for previous fans to enjoy, though it is sometimes hard to skim through the album and find the best songs.
The album is a culmination of their work with producer David Newton, a former member of The Lemonheads. It contains some of their older songs included in the Imaginary EP, which Newton aslo produced, such “Lieutenant” and “Tambourine.” These are great songs and there was no reason to leave them off the album.
The influences of grunge are clear in this band, but are also combined wittingly with the art rock of David Bowie and David Byrne, and ’80s pop music of the very missed King of Pop, Michael Jackson.
You can catch The Happy Hollows live at Spaceland on Sept. 4 for the Spells release party and performance.