Sad Songs For Happy People hide in plain sight on the devastatingly beautiful debut EP – 01 — premiering exclusively on Tinnitist.
Personifying Irish poet John Boyle O’Reilly’s belief that “anonymity is the fame of the future,” Sad Songs For Happy People are a unique entity in today’s Era of Oversharing: An enigmatic far-flung multi-media collective whose members put art ahead of artifice, favour imagery and imagination over image, and revel in the revelations that can only truly come from the security of the shadows.
“Disguised as an indie new-wave band, Sad Songs for Happy People is the convergence of a songwriter, fine artist, dancers, filmmakers and, courtesy of the Internet, session musicians from Senegal to Latvia,” the group share in a press release. “The project’s oddities include untitled records, faceless musicians and one-word-song-titles-only. In a time where everything’s exposed, Sad Songs for Happy People’s musicians chose to remain faceless, a mystery they will continue to evoke by maintaining anonymity in upcoming videos and activities.”
First and foremost among those projects is their debut EP – 01. Ambitious and striking, the three-track disc reflects the group’s collaborative diversity with multi-faceted tracks that showcase a rich amalgam of sounds and styles. Meditative and intriguing one moment, pointed and anthemic the next – and built around emotionally raw lyrics and shivery fragile, nakedly yearning vocals — these are songs that draw you close and hold you tight instead of bashing you over the head. They describe it as “uplifting melancholia.” I won’t argue with that — though I will add it sometimes makes me think of Bryan Ferry fronting U2 during their moodier, murkier and more experimental moments.
Look no further than the disc’s opening track and first single, naturally titled Second. “A celebration of unconditional love,” the stylishly shape-shifting stunner is set to a four-on-the-floor beat and topped with a martial snare, a melancholy piano melody, fingerpicked folk guitar, orchestral overtones, squelchy electronics and more. The acoustic-guitar driven Light casts a more intimate spell, ebbing and flowing to a sluggish groove that supports everything from twinkly arpeggios to bold brass flourishes. Final track Twister lives up its handle, slowly building from gently echoing single notes to a swirling, powerful cyclone of emotional intensity that leaves you drained yet wanting more.