EP REVIEW: Happydaze – Full Free Radical
Photo Credit: Arthur Piddington
With writing and producing sessions with Matt Squire (Panic at the Disco, Good Charlotte), Mike Green (Sum 41, All Time Low) and Sky Acord (Issues, Twenty One Pilots), Luke Bovill (vocals), Pete Bunting (drums), Rory Gault-Gordon (guitar) and Adam Campbell (bass) of happydaze have grown with some of the industries best talent.
After a highly successful European tour supporting Neck Deep and Boston Manor in 2022, there is a lot going on for happydaze. With over forty-three thousand monthly listeners on Spotify, the Scottish alt-rock/pop are back with their new EP Full Free Radical.
Kicking off with Faded, the band gives listeners a banger with this lofi-beat, alt-rock anthem. When the chorus hits, Gault-Gordon and Campbell go hard on the guitar and bass to create an uplifting feel that matches Bovill’s strong breathless belt, as he sings “I’ve been taking my time. Took in the sights, I needed peace of mind”. The content of the lyrics is quite bleak, but the way Bunting, Gault-Gordon and Campbell support the vocals gives Faded an ironic feel, because it sounds uplifting. You need to really listen to understand the pain Bovill is conveying in the song, about the hopelessness of the person in the relationship.
Not only does the track sound well thought out musically, but the lyrics are memorable and complement the track. This song could have easily been a Neck Deep song, with its pop-punk vibes and self-awareness of the lyrics that Ben Barlow is known for.
Another song that is a tune is Cool Blue. This track is more focused on the use of a subtle synthesiser and a slower tempo to match the subject matter. Although the song deals with a bleak subject matter, Cool Blue has an element of acceptance as Bovill expresses that the person can grieve a lost relationship, but be okay with the outcome as it is for the best.
The song has a clear structure and builds up to the chorus, relieving the tension as Bovill sings “Once the times gone it stays gone. Life goes on, doesn’t last long”. Bovill’s clear vocals are what give listeners the reassurance of the acceptance of letting go, because he exuberates confidence and affirmation in the way he carries the melody in the song.
The most interesting song on this EP is Heaven You Felt, as it has a lot going on within the track and is on the heavier-sounding side. Of course, Bovill is a great lyricist, but this track is all about showing Bunting, Gault-Gordon and Campbell’s skills. The song is more electronic-based, as they work to demonstrate their versatility, with influences of Bring Me The Horizon‘s Sempiternal (2013) era, with a hint of their indie roots. It is unusual to use drum breaks in the way that Campbell’s does, but it works well when alongside Bunting and Gault-Gordon’s tracking, thus making it a refreshing take on today’s rock music.
Like many bands, the pandemic was a spanner in the works for them. However, happydaze used that time to really put work into their lyrics and composition, to create an EP that demonstrates skills seen in older bands like Neck Deep and Roam. There is so much the band can do going forward, and it is exciting to see what they do next.
Standout Tracks: Faded, Thinkinofu, Same To Me
For Fans Of: Neck Deep, Roam, Boston Manor
Written by: Jo Lisney