Friday, 18 November 2011
It's not often a band invokes the kind of sensation where the deepest recess of your own psyche comes undone. Happy Flowers had that special kind of inane insanity that countless bands attempt to emulate, but so few actually capture with the right passion and intensity.
Resting somewhere between Big Black and the Butthole Surfers, John Beers and Charlie Krammer (known as "Mr. Horribly Charred Infant" and "Mr. Anus", respectively) deliver the perfected sounds of sarcasm and self-loathing.
Born from Charlottesville, Virginia in 1983, by two members of then hardcore linchpins the Landlords, Happy Flowers is the unrelenting and uncensored, half-humour and half-childhood angst, stream of consciousness that quenches all weirdo punk fans musical desires.
Their seminal LP "My Skin Covers My Body", released in 1987 on Homestead records, opens with the self-pitying track "The Sun That Burns". The listener is instantly welcomed to a wall of jarring guitars that clearly took its cue from "Metal Machine Music", and is then berated with ceaseless repetition of the songs own title.
It's on "If It Were Broken You'd Be Screaming", the LPs 12th track, two songs shy of being the records penultimate, where the rawest power emerges though. A constant repeated drone of two chords is abused with no remorse, whilst the story of a pre-pubescent child of neglect is relayed with unnerving precision. A powerful back and forth between two voices culminates with the line "... And when my mom opened the box that had the disgusting mangled remains of my body in it, I said 'Mom. Mom. I think one of my teeth is broken'", and as all music cuts out, a shrill reply of the songs name is heard.
Laying the groundwork for a variety of bands to come, Happy Flowers inevitably called it a day, with a few sporadic resurrections, in the early part of last decade. Once discovered, it's hard not to admire and instantly recognise the sound they honed in others works; whether it's a juggernaut like Nirvana or a bottom-dweller like SQRM, their influence is unmistakable. It is at your own loss to ignore the legacy this band has left behind.
Happy Flowers - My Skin Covers My Body