in Review

They Say it’s Your Birthday

Happy Birthday – Happy Birthday

I was flipping through the radio recently when I stumbled upon this band on KEXP. A station I rarely listen to, I was surprised and delighted when I heard the infectious melody of a little song called “Girls FM” by Happy Birthday. As it turned out the band’s self-title debut was out that same day, so I scooped it up and here we are.

Formed by vocalist/guitarist Kyle Thomas (aka King Tuff), drummer/vocalist Ruth Garbis and bassist/vocalist/guitarist Chris Weissman, this Vermont trio was signed to Sub Pop records after playing only five shows. Though all three members are veterans of the indie scene back east. Together they’ve formed Happy Birthday a poppy, grungy, punky trio that reminds me of The Vines and Supergrass with a little bit of retro garage rock.

Happy Birthday’s debut is a bit of a sloppy album, wavering back in forth between power pop and noisy grunge tunes but has it’s moments of brilliance. “Girls FM” and “Subliminal Message” are definite standouts soaked in melodic pop perfection. Sometimes the punk influences aren’t as compelling as the pop, but the only real deal breaker here is whether you can stand the voice of Kyle Thomas. I don’t think voices get more nasally than his so you’ll most likely either like it or hate. He sounds like Craig Nicholls of The Vines if he had a killer head cold. Though if your open minded and looking for something new than maybe it’s time to party like it’s your birthday.

Favorite Tracks: “2 Shy”, “Girls FM”, “Subliminal Message”


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