On ‘Nunhead’, the opening track on Happy Accidents second album, guitarist Rich is talking about meeting by a cemetery in an attempt to block out the noise – both physically and mentally – and the song has a deliciously lo-fi vibe with its Casio keyboard effects, Lemonheads riffs and big bass sound. It’s a fine introduction to the album and its themes of struggles in today’s world and is over all too soon. However, following it up is ‘Wait it Out’, a song reminiscent of Johnny Foreigner’s early work. This song has dual vocals from Rich and drummer Phoebe and the contrasting voices perfectly combine when they both lament how ‘No one does anything more’. Phoebe takes on more of a central role on ‘A Better Plan’. Although there’s a gorgeously summery feel to the chorus, this is at odds with talk of being distracted and the ways in which people treat her, However, there’s real pride in the closing lines of: ‘This is what I am’. Like label buddies The Spook School, this song shows how much pride you can take in being yourself.
‘Act Naturally’ is a more danceable tune that reminded us of the heroic indie bands of the mid-2000s (The Futureheads, The Rakes, we’re looking at you) and the more melodic moments in Graham Coxon’s solo material (think ‘Bittersweet Bundle of Misery’). The band claim ‘You’ve got me wrong’ as they reveal how hard it can sometimes be for natural introverts to open up. ‘Free Time’ is another song with both Phoebe and Rich taking lead vocals and it’s all about wanting to find a better place, especially mentally: ‘I need something to relax’; ‘I don’t want to feel like this forever. Will it ever end?’
Phoebe discusses how some people see life as a straight A-Z and how they’re always surprised in ‘Different Views’, a song that captures the division of post-Brexit Britain: ‘It didn’t take me long to see that it’s those who talk loudest who know the least’. There’s a sadness in the air as the band urge people to put their differences aside: ‘Can we really still be friends with such different views?’
The huge burst of guitar that opens ‘Tell Me When You’re Home’ will grab anyone’s attention and the subject is so important: Phoebe offers an honest and scary account of what it’s like to be a woman walking on their own and being catcalled by abusive men: ‘What’s happening in their minds to make them act the way they might?’ She talks about giving them angry glances but wonders if this is really enough and then ponders why these men think they have the right to ruin a woman’s day-to-day life: ‘Thoughts of what might happen might just override this whole damn night. Is that right?’ It’s a plea for decency and respect everyone should adhere to.
The closing ‘Sink’ is gentler and slower than what came before, but there does appear to be some hope bursting through the layers of darkness. As the band sing about depression and how ‘there’s a raincloud following us around, striking when we’re least aware’, they reassure the subject that ‘I just hope that you will be OK’ and how they ‘can’t quite convey how much you mean to all of us’. This shows that friendship and love can mean so much in times of trouble and it’s such an important – and very timely – message to live by.