Under the Shade of Green by The Happy Fits is a solid next entry that especially shines when it explores sounds and ideas that are new to the band. These are my thoughts after my first listen.

Overall, Under the Shade of Green delivers something that I’m sure fans of the Happy Fits will be excited about. The band brings energy, catchy melodies, and lyrics that I can easily imagine the crowd belting out at a live show.

The album is at its best when The Happy Fits try new sounds that we haven’t heard before. For example, the track “Sweet Things” features a synth melody and slightly more electronic production than is typical of other The Happy Fits songs. And it’s a bop. It’s bouncy and upbeat, and the verses play with a contrast between mellower and brighter sections like waves on a beach. The song finishes with a nice fade, though still it left me wishing for the chorus to hit once more before the end.

Another track that shines thanks to the band branching out is “In the Lobby.” The song starts infectiously and only builds from there, peaking with a delightfully cheeky chorus. These lyrics feel like new territory for the band, and it’s so much fun. Ending on a fade out with a guitar solo was a great choice for this track.

In addition to “Sweet Things” and “In the Lobby,” the band seems to experiment a little bit on “Another Try,” which feels a little edgier than their typical sound. It’s fun, and I wish they had committed to that more, because I feel like we lose a lot of that tone in the chorus. Still, it’s a good song. I liked the layers of vocal harmonies.

I was less excited about some of the tracks which felt like ground The Happy Fits had already covered. For example, “I’ll be Somewhere” has a somewhat awkward chorus melody that’s accompanied by a slightly irritating guitar pulse1. And “Long Way Down,” the track that follows, doesn’t feel particularly distinct in this album or in the band’s body of work. I’m not saying that these songs are bad — they’re perfectly fine — but I just feel like they don’t play to the band’s strengths as much as some of the other material on this album.

One of the things that struck me when I first heard The Happy Fits was the way that some of their songs evoke a sense of honest but painful yearning. I was happy to see that they brought this back on this album, including in the vocals of “Dance Alone.”

Overall, The Happy Fits obviously know how to make fun music. I can absolutely hear the sound of a crowd singing “Cold Turkey,” and I loved that track’s whistling outro2. And “Place In the World” is so danceable. Closer “Do Your Worst” is a great way to end the album. It’s loud, energetic, and has a guitar hook that sounds just a little bit like an alarm, in a good way3.

As with any album, I’m sure my thoughts will evolve as I continue to listen to Under the Shade of Green.

  1. However, it does feature my second favorite lyric on the album, which is “Tell me your secret, maybe I’ll tell you mine” šŸ¦­ ↩︎

  2. It gives me ideasā€¦ ↩︎

  3. And for some reason the verses remind me of Bled White by Elliot Smith↩︎