The Happy Hollows
(Autumn Tone Records)
Sarah Negahdari: the name itself evokes a weird sense of mystery. Negahdari is the lead singer of LA-based trio, The Happy Hollows. Their music is a nostalgic albeit artful trip back to when punk music was good. Their new album, Spells, stands as a euphemism for post-punk music today. Despite the album’s attempt to send a more urgent and prettier sound to the masses, at times it is too pretty. Much like the city the band hails from, the album has a pretty sheen over an ugly reality.
Negahdari, who sounds like a muted version of Corin Tucker, is phenomenal and at it’s core the reason this album is so great. It showcases her impeccable ability to effectively emote and control her vocals to the tone of the music. Take the track, “Silver”, my favorite on the album, here she audibly shows the listener her unsettling ability as the vocals take over the grunge song. Sequencing of the songs on the album at times leaves a lot more to be desired causing the album a problem with keeping up the momentum. On the tracks where Negahdari doesn’t contribute vocally, it feels like the band dynamic shifts and makes it a less cohesive effort, less post-punk and more pretty art rock.
This album, despite Negahdari’s excellence, leaves the listener confused at the end of fifty minutes because punk music isn’t meant to be pretty, it’s urgent, immediate, a call to arms, and beautiful because it’s ugly.