Before giving this record a spin, I decided to have a listen through Miike Snow’s 2009 debut. Everyone had been raving about that release, yet ultimately it garnered very mixed reviews and sort of faded into nothingness behind the massive hit, “Animal”. Happy To You, the Swedish/American trio’s latest record, came to me with an equal amount of hype surrounding it, but off the back of their last effort, I wasn’t too fussed about being swept off my feet – how wrong I turned out to be.
The level of rhythm the act manages to conjure up between a selection of keys and drums is fantastic and if anything, it is the one thing people should definitely admire. “Paddling Out”, the first single to be released off Happy To You is catchy from the onset, with the pounding nature of the non-stop piano making the track the most reminiscent of the sounds on Miike Snow. Andrew Wyatt’s vocals are delicate enough to contrast the rollicking nature of the music, yet his range is something which saves him from being swallowed up by it all. “Devil’s Work” is quite similar in sound and arrangement, I found, but its added brass and string section made it distinctive and one of my favourite tracks on the record.
“Bavarian #1 (Say You Will)” is one of the only moments on the album where you think you’re venturing into some darker musical territory; the monotony of the drums in the beginning bring to mind a strict military show and imply something on another level than what has been featured so far, but the introduction of keys as it continues brings the light back to the song. Through it, you get a feeling that there are going to be some epic crescendos, yet they never seem to eventuate. “Black Tin Box” features vocals courtesy of fellow Swede Lykke Li, and while one would think that she’d be the star focus of the song, she isn’t. Between her and Wyatt, the lyrics, while more eerie in content and lost in the wispiness of their delivery. The underwater/blocked ear quality of the arrangement adds to this creepy atmosphere the song relates, but I thought it was the other moment on the album where the song just didn’t work.
While yes, there were some dim moments (as any decently made album is forgiven for having), Happy To You as a whole was such a good listen; there are songs which were made for the dancefloor, while others imbue the listener with a desire to revisit the heyday of dark electro and trip-hop. A definite album on my playlist for the winter season, one I don’t think will get old in a hurry at all.
Reviewer Score: 7.9/10