Happydaze – ‘Full Free Radical’ EP

By Katherine Allvey

Think back to a festival you went to when you felt ‘young’. If youth is still on your side, you probably won’t have to think too hard. Maybe it was Reading, or Glastonbury, or a local gathering in a park. If you try and conjure up the feeling of endless blue skies, youthful possibilities and seeing your favourite band while full of cheap alcopops, you’ll find your memory fragmented by nostalgia and coloured sepia by your intervening experiences. That fleeing and fleeting memory is perhaps the best description of Happydaze’s music: electro, ethereal and effervescent summertime indie pop rock that seems familiar but unknown at the same time. 

After finishing their tour supporting Boston Manor and Neck Deep, the world is Happydaze’s proverbial oyster. The band is a child of the pandemic, formed by Luke Bovill (vocals) and Pete Bunting (drums) in 2020, and after ‘months and months of zoom calls to write songs’ their debut EP dropped in 2021. ‘Full Free Radical’ is their sophomore release, described by Bovill as “electronic, emo-trap, Soundcloud-pop-punk music,” and like a rolling stone is gathering some serious critical acclaim and exposure as more and more folks tap into the band’s late-summer pop warmth. 

‘Faded’, the first single drop, “is about putting all your cards on the table and reaching a feeling of realising someone can bring you out of it, while exploring the uncertainty about the direction you should take.” It’s a song which expands like sonic ripples on water and holds the last syllable of “I don’t know what to do,” poised like a droplet. Yes, there’s electro samples and 1975 guitar moments, but also this classic pop punk longing for release over crashing drumbeats like landslides. ‘Coolblue’ is simultaneously a more mature and more immature second release; there’s something charmingly amateur about the chorus, like they’re just about to move away to hit the big time and leave their hometown behind. The melodic nihilism of ‘Full Free Radical’ is so appealing though, a desire to drift away through 90s low key guitar tiptoeing and endless drum loops.

There’s this sense of trying to capture elusive moments scattered throughout this EP, to find that certain something that’d hidden just out of comprehension. It’s a compelling emotional quest through forests of chiming electronic heartless chords and crumbling melodic mountains. ‘Heaven You Felt’ is far more of a ‘rock’ song than the rest of the EP and continues this tone with half-recognised samples like lyrics heard through a car radio. Combined with emo sensibilities and those trademark effortless drumbeats and Happydaze have hit a winner. 

The ‘Full Free Radical’ EP as an entire body of work is incredibly evocative, expanding a single moment or emotion then rolling around inside it to create interesting and intelligent sound. If they travelled back in time twenty five years, they could produce the most fantastic split with Jimmy Eat World, such is their lyrical verve, emotional honestly and tendency to pull notes out to their maximum on choruses. However, Happydaze are very much a band riding the current indie zeitgeist and seeing where the waves will take them. This is a tremendous second EP and sees the band at a tipping point into the ‘big time’ just before this year’s festival season, and the confetti of their sound is sure to scatter across the UK, if not the world. 

Kate Allvey

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