by Ben Adsett
Everything but Here and Now, developed during live performances and recorded act over years of relentless touring, sees DIY darlings, Happy Accidents move forward in songwriting and performance, with drummer Phoebe pitching in with vocals – this added voice is just one element in the evolution of HA as a recording act.
From the intricate piano, simple guitar and emotive vocal in opener, ‘Nunhead’, it is instantly clear that Happy Accidents have matured as songwriters. Harmonies and drums kick in and this track takes on a power pop edge, before transitioning into into track two, ‘Wait it Out’, which is sure to be a future live banger. Full of effortless sounding vocals, razor sharp harmonies and a distinctive bass line that runs the entire track, this is one of many highlights within this release. The vocal balance is cemented by the uplifting harmonised chorus, this tonal interplay works really well throughout.
Phoebe’s lead vocals on ‘A Better Plan’ and ‘Different Views’ adds a variation in vocals and musicianship which will give the record a real longevity. The dual (and occasionally three-way) vocal adds so much to this LP; the harmonies are tight, hooks infectious and choruses are future ear worms.
Lyrically this release covers so much ground with everyday themes cleverly addressed with balance. With moral quandaries, boundaries, gender and sexuality all addressed in a personable way. There are also some very clever uses of the mundane, which somehow avoid being banal and instead create a real life context. The line ‘When we get back we’ll unwind, share what’s really on our minds’ is a fine example of this – although relatively normal there is something loving about this reliability.
‘Text Me When You Get Home’ is an expertly written social commentary, combining the constant worry about every one you care about with the anxiety of being out late at night. As the intro’s angular guitar, and building bass and drum lines fade, we get a composition that befits the harmonised vocal and insightful lyrics nicely. And the record ends it reverts back to the softer side – ‘Sink’ is a reflective way to complete the LP.
Musically this is an album that sounds like it was recorded on a higher budget, with the dream pop sound taking an already incredible band to the next level. The drums could have fallen out of almost any surf punk album and nods towards the summer shoegaze vibes of Surfer Blood, while the harmonies and warming feedback recalls The Vivian Girls and the slightly off kilter hooks of early Dandy Warhols. There are also simple associations to make with acts they share a scene with like Peaness, Colour Me Wednesday, Austeros and Great Cynics all of which combine harmonies, politicised lyrics and know their way around a hook.
Everything but Here and Now has a rich positivity to it, with vocals and guitar hooks spreading a little sunshine to even the bleakest of moments. It’s these tiny moments of hidden positivity that is testament to the clever song writing.
Everything but Here and Now is out on February 16th via Alcopop! Records.