We had the chance to chat with Happy Heartbreak, an alt-rock/emo-pop band based in Seattle. Happy Heartbreak is Craig Suede- vocals/guitar, Kylie Doebler- drums, Greg Olson- bass, and Serina Chang- cello. This group had us kicking back a bit to the early 2000's as they comped to bands from the emo-pop scene from that time such as Taking Back Sunday, but with a fresh twist. The group runs a tight ship musically and does a good job of varying their sound track to track all while still sounding like themselves (we were even able to fit in a comp to The Cure as you'll see soon!). Happy Heartbreak have an EP Flight Risk that they allowed us early access to so that we could review, you'll find that here as well. Flight Risk drops September 27 at Happy Heartbreak's EP Release Show at the Columbia City Theater in Seattle. Check out our review and interview below!
Flight Risk EP Review:
1. "Worn Out" - Musically, enjoyed this track immensely. However, the timing at times the vocals felt off with the music. We liked the hook here though. Also, we have to say we were not the biggest fans of the use of the cell phone in the track. This song seemed to be much more raw in comparison to the other more polished tracks that would come later on the EP.
2. "Not Running" - Extremely tight song with an addictive hook. Comps to bands that have influenced Happy Heartbreak (more on that later) from the early 2000's pop/punk scene. Guitar driven melody is strong and the use of the cello throughout is appropriate and is not overdone as bands such as Yellowcard overdid their use of violin. The use of screaming and choral harmonization in the background is a nice change of pace for the track and evokes comps to Brand New.
3. "Snowflake" - We loved the effects driven guitar in this track, it reminds us Robert Smith's incorporation of flange pedals into his guitar work in The Cure. The use of musical pause by Happy Heartbreak builds anticipation extremely well and the payoffs come quick which is cool, we wonder what Happy Heartbreak could do with a slow burn style track. We want to note that the drums in this track were a force for the rhythm section pushing the song, we dug them a lot.
4. "Again, Again" - Has an upbeat lead guitar riff to it that has a bit of twang to it that feels a bit alt-country. When combined with the cello, this added to that, which we were not sure fit the rest of the track, which we enjoyed immensely. The vocals were later presented in a duet fashion and this jived better, however it didn't seem to stick with the chorus. We enjoyed both parts separately, not sure how well they melded together.
5. "Neverland"- We enjoyed the drums here again and they are relied on heavily here, along with the cello to carry the rhythm for sections of the song. Happy Heartbreak threw everything at this last song including acoustic guitar, and we feel they were able to stick the landing.
Closing Thoughts: Tight, Tight, Tight, we can't say that enough. When they get going, Happy Heartbreak are so crisp musically. We were big fans of the driving choruses in this EP, the vocals were solid, and the drumming and cello were stellar. There were a couple of songs where we weren't sure about specific choices musically, (the use of the cell in "Worn Out" and genre juxtaposition we had difficulty with in "Again Again". Regardless, Flight Risk is a pretty solid effort from a group that seems to be winning fans with a sound and message that touches on listener's rawest emotions and at the end of the day, isn't that what music is all about?
Rating - 3.5/5
Happy Heartbreak Artist Spotlight:
1. How did you come to pursue music and how long have you been at it?
Music is the only thing that makes sense in this Life that feels so crazy. As long as I can remember, I’ve been singing, but I started playing and performing original music in early high