By Tanner Meadows
Artist: The Happy Fits
Album: Awfully Apeelin’
Release Date: August 27th, 2016
Self proclaimed as the “rackety-clacketiest” band we know, the indie folk trio The Happy Fits, fronted by fencing champ Ross Monteith and orchestra nerd (his words, not mine) Calvin Langman, lay down a unique blend of sounds both classic and contemporary, stemming from the founding member’s respective love of indie rock and orchestral music. Awfully Apeelin’, the band’s debut 2016 EP, shows just how the band puts a youthful twist on old sounds.
One of the most interesting things about the group is the substitution of a bass for a cello. It and gives it more of an acoustic feel that lends to its folk music influences. In addition to that, the ability to either pluck the strings or use a bow opens up for a lot of creative choices. The Happy Fits take full advantage of this; the way the cello is played being a key part in creating each song’s individual feel. Compare the frantic second track “While You Fade Away” to the finale “Drink.” The plucked notes of the prior are punchy and emphatic, giving a feeling of urgency, while the drawn out strokes of a bow in the later create a much more somber atmosphere.
However, the standout track in my opinion is the third, “Dirty Imbecile,” the lyrics and structure of which are both cleverly setup to serve one overarching theme. The song is about the struggle between our inner insecurities and the confidence, whether it be real or a artificial, that we present to strangers. The idea is presented to the listener with a dual vocal track. One voice sings softly and melodically about fear, both the vocalist and the rest of the band letting there notes ring while capitalizing on strategic silence. The other voice sings louder and more aggressive than the first, the band following suit with a fast and thumping rhythm and beat. The song switches back and forth between the two until at the end they’re singing at the same time, not in unison but rather in a contrapuntal fervor, symbolic of what the lyrics attempt to convey.
The commercial success and the surprising size of their fan base is both deserved and impressive considering that their discography consists of five songs, the EP being reviewed and a single released in early 2017 titled “Right Through.” The groups upcoming shows are sporadic and few, so it seems uncertain as to what is to be expected of them in the future. Regardless, whatever The Happy Fits have planned is something to be excited for.