Fuzzy indie trio Happyness made quite a splash with debut album “Weird Little Birthday” in their native England last summer and now American audiences can see what the fuss is all about with the “Enhanced Version 2.0” of a record that landed on many “best of 2014” lists throughout Great Britain.
It might take a little time to warm to Happyness, with their sound that comes across as a mix between bands like Pavement and Wilco. Lid lifter “Baby, Jesus (Jelly Boy)” is excellent, but the salty language won’t be for everyone. Once (or perhaps if) you buy into what Jonny Allan, Benji Compston and Ash Cooper are selling, however, “Weird Little Birthday” makes for a fascinating listen.
Four bonus tracks balloons the album to 17 total track clocking in at more than an hour but the momentum rarely lags despite the bloated run time. Among the highlights here are “Naked Patients,” “Pumpkin Noir,” nine-minute opus “Weird Little Birthday Girl,” personal favorite “It’s On You,” “Leave the Party” and “Lofts.” Among the bonus cuts, “Montreal Rock Band Somewhere” and “You Come to Kill me?!” stand out from the pack. (Jeffrey Sisk)