Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Falling Down”, by Happyness, from their 2017 album, Write In, out now on Bar/None.
Even at their most melancholy, Happyness is a joy. The London trio have just released another set of lovable, slightly off kilter indie rock in their sophomore album, Write In. As with their wonderfully quirky, Weird Little Birthday debut LP, the band themselves draw pleasure from the past and practically wear their influences on their sleeves, right beside their hearts. It’s always tempting to consider all of their musical references, which they render with tender reverence. This time, they trade some (but not all) of the heavily 90s-influenced, college-radio-beloved, slacker indie rock (e.g. Pavement, Yo La Tengo, Sparkehorse) in favor of a wider palette and go, as bassist and vocalist Jon EE Allan says, “outside the little American alt-rock sphere we were looking in on.” The band’s press name drops Roxy Music, The Beach Boys, Randy Newman, Sonic Youth, Big Star and ahead-of-his-time Swiss jazz guitarist and composer Pierre Cavalli, but on today’s featured song, “Falling Down”, it’s hard not to hear The Cure as filtered through The Feelies, at least on first listen. The latter makes tons of sense, as that iconic band not only shares a similar aesthetic but also the same label with their own recent release and reissues, while the former points to Happyness’ increased dreaminess. Write In as a whole is dreamier, more atmospheric than before, to further emphasize their often hushed vocals and wistful lyrics. “I think we used to be very afraid of being earnest,” Jon EE Allan continues. “And now we’re able to be tender or heartfelt without feeling too guilty about it.”
If you too find “Falling Down” the right kind of happy-sad pick-me-up, then you’ll want to grab Write In at your record store now and catch Happyness when they perform live in Seattle on May 30th at the Sunset Tavern. Look for more dates and music on their Facebook page, and, for now, be sure to watch the official video for “Falling Down” below: