Happy. – ‘Imposter Syndrome’

By Renette van der Merwe

It’s been two years since their debut album ‘Cult Classic’, and Happy. are finally back with another installment in the shape of a second LP called ‘Imposter Syndrome’. Their ethos of perpetuating positivity and an eagerness to change the conversation surrounding mental health is reason enough to support this band – but with the likes of Sleeping With Sirens’ Kellin Quinn also in their corner, you have to sit up, pay attention, and ask what Happy. have to offer. 

On offer so far have been consistently great singles that have sparked praise from critics and music publications for good reason. Songs like ‘Sick is The New Sane’ and ‘A Cure for Wellness’, the first two tracks on the album, generate a lot of energy and show that, despite maturing, the band still have the ability to produce great hooks and bubbling melodies. 

‘LiarLiar’, another single, is an exceptional display of using your instruments to facilitate emotion as they keep the verses light with a palm-muted strum, before dipping into heavier chorus riffs that add to vocalist Tate Logan’s screams as he explores the frustration of dealing with depression. Given how honest and straightforward the lyricism is on this one, it feels like an anthem for anyone struggling with their mental health and it’s always cool to see a band relate to their fans in such a strong way.

The second half of the album hides surprises in the form of ‘April Is For Fools and ‘June Gloom’, both of which have a surf rock vibe. But the true winner is the final track, ‘Black Picket Fence’ – the strings add another layer to a song already steeped in emotion, and Logan’s voice takes a bit more of the spotlight when all other elements are stripped back. There’s also a brilliant instrumental burst for the last minute of the song, which seems out of place at first, but actually works really well. It feels as though the band are allowing you a moment to soak it all in, let it all out, and just feel. 

The only misfire is ‘Hooky’, which is a little cheesy and makes for an uncomfortable listen. It might have served the album better by sitting a little further down, instead of being third, but you have to admire the band for their confidence in it. 

If you loved ‘Cult Classic’, it might take a while to adjust to the more produced sound of ‘Imposter Syndrome’, but the clarity highlights their summery sound, making the contrast of upbeat melodies and the slightly darker lyrical content more impactful. Happy. might not be reinventing the wheel, but this is a genuinely enjoyable album – and with this year being what it is, who doesn’t want to step away from the shitshow for just a second and have a bit of fun? 

RENETTE VAN DER MERWE

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