Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Happy Times on Swashbuckling Hobo Records

I've noticed one particular band on Swashbuckling Hobo Records is obsessed with the sea. Happy Times knows way too much about U-boats, they wear captains hats on this sleeve and make references to their 'rudder' on Facebook. Pirate/boat culture hasn't really ever found a place in punk rock until now. I want to believe Happy Times all joined the Australian navy and met because they were the only ones listening to the Circle Jerks while swabbing the deck. Maybe they're out there now sailing the seas in darkness with other submarines recognizing their acoustic rehearsal 'signature' as they tour from port to port.

On A-Side's "Hey Biscay" all I can hear is The Hot Snakes brand of high specific layered distortion that wraps around on itself repeating their melody between the huge drum crashes and meatier rhythm parts of this rumbling dark punk. Happy Times still find room for bluesy solos with rough vocals snarling from the shadowy parts of this basement, peaking out the mic dangling from the ceiling. The rest of the band is yelling from their corners between scrubbing the decks as the whole ratty sound bounces off the cinder block walls. They had that other single about a submarine right? (U-Boat duh - ed) Still appropriate, on shore leave they made quick work to find this studio and kiss the ground.
B-Side's "Croatian Drunk" gets revved up right away with a scrape down the strings and I'm guessing landing right on a split right on that spotlight. They roughen up the guitars and yell about drunks and punks and punching you in the nuts. I know, that doesn't sound bad actually. Switching up big riffs they manage to capture this energy with a major ripping solo, sounding scrappier than the A-Side in guitar tone only. The captain is running this vessel right into the rocks. "Herr Wriggler" takes a measure of three chords and adds rubbery drums and hoarse vocals with the rest of the band yelling their call and response. It's mic'd later in time with a tape deck leaving you wondering how they got it together like this? They wanted to leave just enough of that raw spontaneity to keep you guessing. They are after all men of the sea. ( I will not resort to a cheap gag.)

Get this on black vinyl from Aussie import specialist Easter Bilby, includes giant 6x6 sticker for that hole in the wall from your last party where this was played.

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