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The Happiness Factor – Avoid Danger

The mistake that I made before listening to Avoid Danger was that I only read the first few lines of the one-sheet for this album before I gave it a listen. The one-sheet states, “The Happiness Factor feature insanely catchy pop songs that seethe with energy and frustration.”

Because of this, I half expected expected The Happiness Factor to be a synthy female electro group in the vein of Le Tigre. So as the opening track “The In-Crowd” began with male vocals and a palm muted guitar I was a bit bummed to an extent. After the first few tracks of Beatle-esque pop ballads I became distant to what I was listening to and in the end I might as well have not been listening to anything at all. Nothing really stood out.


The next day as I drove to work I went on my second voyage, and this time, I really began to like how The Happiness Factor took elements of the Beatles and even the Clash into their own world of catchy pop ballads. Maybe it was because I listened with new ears that were void of any expectation, as I had the day before. But that can happen with some music. Yesterday I couldn’t get into the album, and the next day I’m at a red light rocking my steering wheel drum kit harder than it has been rocked in quite a while.

Unfortunately, this only lasted until the fourth track “Soft,” which trailed into a rasp and then lifted the needle off the record abruptly. The rest was mostly filler, with slow repetitive indie rock songs that reminded me way too much of a Beatles cover band.

I must note that the musicianship was a key plus for this album. In fact it was astounding. Everything was on key and sounded perfect. The downside to their musicianship keeping the listener intrigued past the fifth song and until the last note is played, which is not always an easy feat for many bands.

If The Happiness Factor would have released Avoid Danger as a five track E.P. I am sure my thoughts would have been completely different. For this full-length, they would have been better with the “less is more” strategy.


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