Minneapolis group The Happy Children quietly released an eight-track record today titled Same Dif.
The record was completed in a span of about 12 months, while the group was simultaneously working on other musical projects in between.
Caleb Hinz, (Guitar and vocals) wrote, produced and engineered all songs with the exception of “Bubblegum,” which was written by Mitchell Seymour (Bass and vocals).
Drums were performed by Sam Mathys, and some additional engineering was performed by Zachary Hollander at The Pearl.
Right off the bat, their first tune, “C.E.O.,” grabs my ears. The clean and delicate staccato guitar picking has my body popping around like a Mexican jumping bean.
“N-n-no not today
N-n-no go away
F-f-far down the river’s
Where I want you to stay”
Get the tweezers, cuz it’s an ear worm.
The somewhat cryptic lyrics hold no diverse effect on the feel-good energy of the instruments and vocal melody.
They really spent quality time on the vocal production here. The use of autotune is present not as a crutch but as an instrument of its own. Sam’s perfectly-minimal percussion of kick, sidestick and shakers lock into tempo.
The structure of the song is non-traditional, which is a breath of fresh air.
The song swells on what I would call the bridge as Caleb’s vocals send me down an infinite realm via layered harmonies of longing, swirling into a deep vocal transposition.
“C.E.O.” ends at a reasonable 2:51, but somehow I’m left feeling like I had been abruptly dropped off of a train sooner than my expected destination.
I revisit the song again and again before traveling to the other seven tracks, which each have a personality of their own.
The Happy Children have set the bar high for their musical peers; a Minnesota group you would be foolish not to keep a close eye on.