Record Label: ADF Records
Release Date: 06/08/2021
For Fans Of: Dream State, We Are The In Crowd, Halflives
It’s widely regarded that the classic model of being a band is outdated and only serves the best interests of those calling the shots rather than those making the music. As December Falls are one of the bands ripping up that rule book and attempting to prove there is a more sustainable way as they continue with their quest for independence in what they do. Happier is the end product of the Nottingham four-piece’s decision to self-fund their sophomore record by taking out a bank loan, and to prove the naysayers in the music industry wrong.
Those of you familiar with As December Falls’ self-titled debut album will instantly recognise the party anthem-vibe to the record, with a relentless tempo and a thirst for carnage that can’t be quenched. However, the production has stepped up a notch and the result is a more polished sound that highlights the growth within the band.
‘H.N.A’ is a firework of a track exploding overhead, pulsating and pounding, but as is engrained in the band’s DNA, lyrically there’s a softer centre then you might first realise. ‘Afterglow’ is home to the most insatiable of riffs and pop hooks sinking themselves into you like an IV drip you’ll need to be weaned off afterwards, slowly but surely. There’s an infectious energy resonating from every pour of the song, perfectly befitting of a crowd full of limbs in a sweaty venue in the near future. ‘You Say When’ and ‘Tears’ are similar efforts, as they put their pedal to the metal and show little sign of taking their foot off the gas.
As has already been touched upon, As December Falls have a vulnerability to their music, an exposure and fragility to their clearly visible heartstrings and hardships that provides cathartic inspiration to their songs. The title-track ‘Happier.’ is a delicate flower amongst a field of thorns and stinging nettles, and it feels like the band endured a lot of pain reaching it. ‘Fake Company’ is an emotional and open ballad about mental health struggles that is likely to strike a chord with many. The album closes on the brilliantly empowering ‘ One Last Song’, with its heart on its sleeve and its fist aloft. It serves as a reminder, not that one is needed, of the plethora of musical styles that this band can claim to be craftspersons at creating.
Happier is an impressive album regardless of the context in which it was created, but the DIY-ethos and forward-thinking nature of As December Falls certainly adds to the record and gives it an extra dimension and edge on similar records and bands in the scene. This record is bold in every sense of the word and deserves to ultimately be proven a risk that was well worth taking for the band.
Recommended Track: ‘Afterglow’