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Album Review by Roy Peak

Vann Hardin

Punk With a Camera and Rib Fest Records
Releasing in May 2019

There’s several memes about folk punk that say something like “folk punk: a bunch a sad white kids with acoustic guitars” and that’s fairly accurate, just like country music could be described as songs about trains, getting drunk, and going to jail. Wait, those last three could also be about folk punk. Okay, so maybe folk punk is a mish-mosh of sarcastic emo and hippy-dippy pop, with a strong D.I.Y. ethic played on mostly acoustic instruments where tuning is sometimes secondary. It's also all about being a young adult in today's world, dealing with outrageous debt, no future, and no sense of self-worth, but playing emotionally charged songs about dealing with said problems.

So it's all that, sure, but it's also sometimes emotionally strong, witty, fearless, and intense beyond its humbleness and self-denigration, just like Zozobra, the latest from Midwesterner Daymon Ryan — he who is all of HappyHappy — which is an album of mostly acoustic instruments, with double-tracked vocals, lots of sarcastic humor and wicked insights, and the whole thing rolls along like a freight train almost too fast to hop on board, but hop on you do, and you're right there, singing along, tapping your foot while "listening to sad songs played too loud," reveling in the knowledge that you know the same list of people he mentions in the song "NPR Loves the Postal Service" but the names have all been changed to protect no one really, laughing along with "Amoeba" wondering why no one has never come up with this idea before, brilliant as it is, totally getting "Panic Attack" which could be the best song on the album, but then you hear "Jesse and Kristen" and you get just enough of the culture references to laugh and sing along, completely thrilled when the song starts to climax, just liked you hoped it would, only better cuz those horns are sublimely heaven sent and forthrightly punchy and you're damn glad you put the album on repeat so you can listen to it again and again right away as you drive around in the falling rain it's so good.

Strong, witty, fearless, intense. Zozobra by folk punk artist HappyHappy.


Roy Peak 04-18-2019

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