A photograph and a baseball hat

They sure do like seafoam green
If you’ve never heard of Happy Birthday until now, you’re forgiven. This Vermont-based trio came out of nowhere to get signed by Sub Pop, who explained that the group was a spinoff of King Tuff—another band I’ve never heard of.

“Subliminal Message” appears on Happy Birthday’s self-titled debut, and its bubblegum melody sounds like it was written after bingeing on birthday cake and Orange Crush. It’s a sugary tune, but the gritty guitars and bleary production keep the sweetness from ever getting cloying. It almost seems like the track is being played at 10 BPMs slower than intended; rather than sucking the energy out of it, this gives the track a blissful, hazy quality that sounds more like a sugar crash than a high.

MP3: “Subliminal Message”
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