Sometimes amazing things come out of those moments when life is at its darkest. This is certainly true of Happy Abandon’s newest album, Facepaint.
The indie rock trio from North Carolina formed in early 2015, and consists of Peter Vance (guitar/vocals), Jake Walts (drums/backup vocals), and Justin Ellis (bass/backup vocals). For this album they were also joined by Alex Thompson (keys/synth).
Aside from being a generally great album, Facepaint holds a lot of important the members of Happy Abandon, as it’s creation was part of the coping progress when Vance, Walts, and Ellis all lost friends they held dear to them in three separate incidents. The emotions brought on my these tragedies, combined with the everyday challenges life brings, imbue the songs on this album with astounding emotional depth.
The album opens up with “Ivory Bound,” a soft, etherial track with a tranquil melody. The warm guitar and light piano evoke pleasant feelings, while the deep, poetic lyrics keep the song grounded in reality.
The calm “Ivory Bound” then gives way to “Beneath Our Feet,” and the contrast is quite stark. “Beneath Our Feet” is powerful with a catchy beat and passionate vocals. The lyrics evoke dark, morbid images that showcase the deceitful, selfish nature of humanity. Apparent in lines like “and this world’s been built on the backs of all the ones you’ve killed,” this is a song calling out those who will do anything to further themselves, no matter who it hurts.
From the very first note, “Severed Seams” evokes a sense of melancholy reflection. The serene melody is absolutely beautiful, and the harmonies add a sense of grander to the song. The beat picks up around the midway point, although the dreamy feel remains.
“Heavy Lines” opens with a bang, as an inspirational sounding guitar part gives the song a larger-than-life vibe. This fades to a calmer, melodic guitar and serene vocals, although the lull does not last too long, as the power swiftly returns. The’s a sense of escape in “Heavy Lines,” it’s about acknowledging what was and choosing to move forward. This song practically screams “get up and go,” be it to get away, or to find something new.
“Cursed Or Worse” closes the album on a sad note. The song opens with slightly unsettling violins before Vance’s heartfelt vocals begin, playing with the flow of the song in an intriguing way. There’s so much emotion behind this song, it almost brings tears to the eyes. Everything about this song, from the cadence to the lyrics hits deep. It’s rare finding a song this raw with such an air of vulnerability. A lot went into it’s creation, and that makes it a true piece of art.
Facepaint is a rollercoaster of emotions, each of the ten tracks evoking something new for the listener. Happy Abandon really made something special here, and it’s easy to tell how much of themselves really went into the making of this album.