Happy Birthday. Take your mother’s hand as she leads you to the table of your friends. You are about to eat musical cake and ice cream and see colors that you’ll dream about in future nights’ sleeps. They are pink and lime green and they are glowing electric and you will soon be happily floating in a pleasure-filled pit of rock and roll.
How did every morsel on Happy Birthday’s debut LP become as memorable as a first-slow-dance song? How did a first listen to the album feel like a 60th time through one of our old favorites? “Eyes Music,” with its upside-down rhythms and staircase harmonies marching across your face like martians. “Subliminal Message,” the ballad that you haven’t believed in since Cyndi Lauper weirdly made you weep in a Chevy Nova. “I Wanna Stay,” a song that you’re in the very center of and where you want to be for a long time. And the instantaneous “Girls FM,” a reminder about why we love the single and the rock trio. Buzzy guitar hammering you into happiness, a beat you can’t shake, and sweet back-up harmonies.
“Everybody’s on the same frequency,” the Happy Birthday kids sing without irony. The Happy Birthday kids care about making good music, and we can get behind them.
Over there is the girl you liked last year, there are several wrapped geo shapes on the table and they are presents for you. Some kid is laughing at you and it makes your nostrils pucker, on the other hand those cool weird kids are here, they are hanging out in the corner. It’s ruthie and kyley and chris, they will play even if you’re not there.
Kyle was King Tuff long before you knew him, having been born with a rocker’s grin in Brattleboro, Vermont. Don’t laugh at Vermont. Kyle’s love for rock came pure as the water melting off the mountains: from his mother’s tit he sucked Ozzy and Prince, and in his diapers he left traces of Sid Vicious. Ouch.
Kyle and his grimey cronies hatched schemes over steaming paper cups of coffee in the cold New England air. Plans for sounds that were immediate and alive, nostalgic in the most present of tenses. Ruthie shadowed with the drumsticks as Kyle tapped out the beats. Chris filled in the dream with puzzles from his “inverted-tuning” guitar, swung great chops with his severe bass.
chris will turn it upside-down, the world is upside down and this music too. kyle will scream in your face, his guitar will too, wake up. ruthie will lay it down, she grew her beat as her toenails formed. it’s bright yellow popcorn and it’s good for you and you like it. “Dance, dance,” those kids cry.
UTERUS, FETUS HEAD, ’BILI CORD, POP.