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The Happy Fits’ “What Could Be Better” – Album Review

The Happy Fits return with their sophomore studio album What Could Be Better, a delightfully chaotic contemplation of everything from growing up to love and identity. The Happy Fits are rewriting the rules of pop with their unique infusion of folk elements into their indie rock roots. They are a trio composed of Luke Davis on drums, Ross Monteith on guitar/vocals and Calvin Langman on cello/vocals. The Happy Fits made their debut with 2016 EP Awfully Apeelin’, and released their first studio album Concentrate in 2018. Since then, The Happy Fits have planted themselves firmly in the hearts and playlists of over 450,000 monthly Spotify listeners (and rapidly growing). Now, What Could Be Better, let’s get into it. 

The album begins with “Go Dumb” the energetic single that immediately demands the listener’s attention with a driving drum line and dexterous guitar riffs. “Go Dumb” has impossible-not-to-groove-to rhythms and spunky lyrics that set the stage beautifully for the rest of the album. The Happy Fits speak on late night overthinking in “No Instructions”, which, as its title suggests, laments our utter lack of instructions for love and life. Calvin and Ross sing “I’m freaking out, I have no real answer, got only questions, I’m waiting for my mind to go to sleep, so I can get some peace”, me too boys, me too. Next up is “Moving”, one of my personal favorite songs off the album. “Moving” had me hooked in the first five seconds with a combination of hand claps and guitar, the sound of which was progressively built upon in each verse of the song. By the end, the song personifies movement itself, thus dancing is mandatory. 

The cello takes the spotlight in “The Garden”, complete with beautiful layered harmonies and vivid visual imagery. “Two of Many” and “Hold Me Down” both belong in the soundtrack of an indie coming of age movie, either in some sort of travelling montage or build-up to a big romantic moment. Just trust me. What Could Be Better grows increasingly unpredictable as the album continues. “She Wants Me to Be Loved” is alternative in all the right ways with the same Happy Fits animation and elegant incorporation of the cello, taking the gold for my personal favorite song on the project. “Sailing” begins a slower, pensive reflection on loneliness defined mostly by guitar instrumentation that grows increasingly urgent as the song continues. This perhaps mimics the growing disappointment one might experience in the search for a genuine friend or partner these days. “Get A Job” takes the listener back to The Happy Fits’ roots in rock with crazy electric guitar refrains and a story all twenty- and thirty-somethings can relate to: the monotony of a 9-5 job. The album wraps up with its namesake, “What Could Be Better”, a quintessential HF tune and lovely album finisher. 

For their second ever studio album, The Happy Fits knocked it out of the park. What Could Be Better not only has amazing variety in terms of production and genre, but everything they tried to do, including the infusion of worldbeat and mature lyrical themes, was done very well. The genre anarchy that distinguishes The Happy Fits is intensified in this album via noticeably fuller sounding instrumentation. In their career, the band has had to navigate entirely new waters sonically with their use of the cello. This means countless hours troubleshooting the best ways to record it and figuring out how to accurately convey the desired sound onto a digital streaming platform. The growth is incredible, I can’t wait to see what the guys do next. 

Rating: 9/10

Favorite songs: “She Wants Me To Be Loved”, “Moving”

Article by: Olivia Smelas