HAPPY DEATH, A: Letter to the Dead: CDEP

Jul 23, 2007

Here is something interesting I pulled off of Wikipedia: A Happy Death (original title La mort heureuse) was the first novel by French writer-philosopher Albert Camus. The existentialist topic of the book is the “will to happiness,” the conscious creation of one’s happiness, and the need of time (and money) to do so. It draws on memories of the author including his job at the maritime commission in Algiers, his suffering from tuberculosis, and his travels in Europe. I’m not sure this was the band’s reference in choosing a name, but it caught my attention. I was given this CD at a show a few months back from the singer/guitarist Rick. I had known that he had played in a few bands throughout the years, but I wasn’t sure what this band would sound like. I knew it would definitely be punk based. I popped the CD in the player at home a few days later and the first track, “12:22,” comes pouring out the speakers. Four clicks of the drum sticks lead to a thunderous bass line combined with almost a tribal use of drums. Slight harmonic guitar notes add a touch of emotion to that section of the song. Then the song powers ahead and the power chords are unleashed. I begin to hear Rick’s vocals and they are delivered with a sound that is pained and desperate. I pull out the booklet and start to read the lyrics to the songs because, right from the start, I really like this song. I understand where this emotion is coming from. I had a few conversations with him about him losing his fiancé to an early death. This song is for her. Honest and open for all to hear. I listen to just this one song over and over while I have my player on repeat. It really moved me. I had a loss recently and it connects with me and is a sadness I can share. Musically, the song is progressive with punk energy, dark with a death rock gloominess, and post punk with its out of the box use of guitar layering. The other three tracks challenge the listener to pay attention and keep listening. They do not play off of one formula. Each song is unique and could be mistakenly perceived as being performed by different performers if played in a mix of other songs. Even though the songs are different from one another, it is an enjoyable package as a whole. But four songs become a tease. I want to hear more. Hoping that the band does not implode, I am in anticipation that a future full length is in the works.

 –don (Me and My Shadow)