The Well Happy Band - A Very Gonzo Album Review - C.T. Herron

I'm not used to deadlines, I mean, I'm a gonzo journalist? Aren't I? That's what they say. You show me a gonzo journalist that meets a deadline and I'll meet a deadline... Mind you, I've took the piss with reviewing The Well Happy Band more than even Spence has with releasing the Hot Tub Dialogues, been I’ve meaning to review this band for a long time...

If I'm not mistaken, the inception of the WHB was as an acoustic female duo that played hippy-ish music at various low key festivals a couple of years ago, and yet what we have, evolved, here before us, a full band/album consisting of manifold musicians who amalgamated into a melting pot of positive, mellifluous vibes to bring us a 'Little Album of Happiness'.

I got inebriated during a detour at Chrissy Mullen's earlier that involved a bottle of apple-flavoured Jim Beam, but once again I'll play the 'gonzo journalist' card with that one, and I've done very, very few of my reviews sober anyway, so this is no exception - (once back in the early days, I reviewed Culann and sent it in, wrecked, right in the middle of a houseparty that had raged for three days. Nobody was any the wiser, so I've got this).

So here goes... Yes, if I can just get this wire into my Bose...... Right......Download code...Okay...There... Crack Budweiser, light very-badly-rolled-joint, finger poised on play... And... Check everything's ready. And... Go!

What's this? Ska! Yasssss! Ska-punk no less, yessssss! Brilliant vocals too, and plenty of rock n' roll! Crazy keyboard, really fuckin' jivin' beat! Good shit, this'll get you going like 10,000 volts in a copper bathtub. We've got the boogaloo shakes! Wow, these guys aren't fucking about anymore. Great breakdown at the end too, rock n' roll ska-electronica, very genre-twisting! Pleasing.

Pleasantly-fucking-surprised, what next? I'm gantin' fer' it! I'm... What is this? Am I... Am I... Happy?? Drunk, yes, but happy? I... I think so! 

Complete mashup of styles now, as we dive headfirst into a soup of boogaloo/soul/pop - a song of being circumforaneous that has the vehicular feel of Beatles' 'Baby You Can Drive My Car' or Madness' 'Driving in My Car' etc. It’s a very enjoyable choon while I chase the Northern Lights with Southern Comfort...

...Keep it together Chris, and you can't dance, type and drink at the same time! It's hard enough to do just one...

A happy, almost-skiffle-like-beat for Happiness Millionaires is promising at first, but is maybe a little too cheery for me, so excuse me while I take a hit of Goldie's downer concoction, cos' this song just falls short of praising Jesus... Hey, check that out, I have the balls for negative criticism with a few swallies in me! Woohoo!!

With 'Reiki' we get down to some serious musicianship, and the drums are nice and heavy - heavy enough to lead a trip on ayahuasca in the Amazonian rainforest, lovely musical accompaniments, lovely instrumentation... Is that a real word? And a genuine skill being invoked here for a nice psychedelic-ska-banjo with a bangin' beat! Did that make sense? Did I think that, or write it? The song now makes me wanna' be dancing my tits off on E at a festival, especially when the glorious, harmonious vocals kick in! We are picking up the pace now, and yes, I am dancing my fucking ass off! It's like, dare I say, it's like the King Blues meets the Doors with Janis Joplin vocals... You can have the planets, but leave the stars for me... Fuck it, I'm eating those mushrooms that have been sitting in the desk drawer all week... This song escalates and escalates and culminates in shamanistic, tribal, glory with soaring pulchritudinous (look at that, I can still spel while drunk) vocals! Amazing fucking tune!

Apologies for all the swearing, I'm just punctuating my thoughts... I wish that tune hadn't ended, I coulda' listened to that for twice the length!

One thing that certainly stands out on this album is the strength of the vocals, very talented, very adaptable singer and the music is genre-defying enough, and the songs really will make you happy, the way you were happy when you were a child, i.e. with youthful abandon and innocent glee... Er, that may have been the drink and the last Disney song-esque track, 'The Happy Rules of Life', conspiring to make me giddy... But that was like a Jungle Book song, wasn't it? Or am I Just tripping? Well, those mushrooms were ground down to a fine powder for a quicker... Uh-oh, good job I've got such a happy album at my disposal to keep me on the straight and narrow...

...Surfing the vicissitudes with the Well Happy Band, and who better to do so?