One Happy Island A Purpose of the Surface Odd Box Records
Article written by
Ged M - Jun 14, 2012
Brad, Meghan and Shannon comprise Boston’s One Happy Island, a DIY indiepop trio who have just released their second album proper. It’s charming and deliberately ramshackle skiffle-pop, using ukulele, kazoo, flute and casiotones to flesh out the basic skeleton. When it’s good, it’s great, with pretty melodies and intricate arrangements. ‘Lonely, Lonelier’ is wistful but catchy, with a twangy solo wringing out individual notes as big as raindrops that drip sadness, and ‘Eve’ has a tender melody, a little gem of neatly-arranged pop. 'Darla Dunning-Kruger’, meanwhile, is country-rock with a satirical sting in the tail, a diss to a high school diva delivered with a Camper Van Beethoven waspishness.
These 17 tracks are certainly eclectic, and a little reminiscent of how albums by the Monkees mixed up bubblegum pop classics with old-fashioned vaudeville (see ‘D.W. Washburn’). That’s how it is here, ‘Cold Enough to Love’ showing off its many flavours of jazz and ‘Lock It Up’ consisting of almost unaccompanied voices in harmony. But, and here’s the “but”, the album feels a little lacking in gravity, partly due to the constant churn of songs and partly because it’s covered in ukulele – never the most serious of instruments – so they could almost be busking! Worth dipping in and out for those aforementioned gems but the full album is a little indigestible.