Jonny Allan and Ash Kenazi aka Happyness re-emerged in 2019 after a two-year break which they described as “the best and worst years of their lives” and almost a year later, 1st May sees the release of their third LP ‘Floatr’, out on Infinit Suds.
Title track ‘Floatr’ feels as though they never went away, sleepwalking out of bed very early one morning, to be woken up gently by your bare feet gracing dew drops on the ascent to the top of a faintly familiar hill, reaching the top and rubbing your eyes to be completely embraced by the rosy-pink warmth of the sky above. A solitary tear of joy slinks its way out of your eye and finds its way carefully down your cheek. In the realm of opening tracks, this is a stunning offering that must, without question, be listened to again and again for each time truly uncovers something that won’t have stood out the time before. Devastatingly good, it´s no fluke that the rest of the album operates on varying levels of that frequency, people be prepared.
Coming down from the opener to be slammed into a delightful offering like ‘Milk Float’ which has been hand-dipped with the utmost of care into a vat of organic 90s groove but doesn’t stray too far from what we know and love. The same goes for ‘Ouch (Yup)’, as well as the cute title, the drums are preppy and energetic and there may or may not be an opportunity for air guitar.
There are immaculately soothing moments that are tinged with vulnerability in the likes of ‘When I’m Far Away (From You)’ accented by soft keys, dreamy guitar and mesmeric underwater sounds, and one for the ASMR lover in ‘Bothsidesing’, the vocals at times are breathy, crackled whispers that glaze the ears and back of your head with fuzz.
As the album enters the final stretch there comes the sense that they are content, more than ready and really bloody happy to be back in the studio, ‘Anvil Bitch’ being a clear demonstration of their musical aptitude. In the closing track ‘(I Kissed The Smile On Your Face)’ it feels like your time is up, you are thanked and kindly placed into a sort of reset capsule that catapults back in time whilst you contemplate what you just experienced. It’s true that the band are likely entering their most thrilling era, the comfort in their lyrical and songwriting ability, and probably where they are as people, shines through.
The new issue of So Young is out now. It’s SOLD OUT in print but you can read the digital edition below.