If Shakespeare was a musician living in modern-day Brisbane, his wordsmith skills would be no match for The Double Happiness, who have a penned a post-punk love letter to their sunshine-soaked hometown on debut EP, City, out 16 March.
Comprising of two couples on the longest double date ever, The Double Happiness have created a record that is washed in a tsunami of reverb, urgent drums and hauntingly sweet vocal harmonies.
An ode to Brisbane and their collective experiences growing up here, bassist Meg Welchman says the record’s reverb-laden guitar harmonies hark back to a time when Brisbane bands sought to rise above the chaos of the politics of the Bjelke-Petersen era.
“City is a concept EP about our home, no longer a country town, explored through past and present soundscapes, created for your listening pleasure,” said Meg.
“Local landmarks and colourful characters feature in City. The signature opening guitar phrases are a reassurance that you are being taken on a warm and familiar trip down Brisbane’s memory lane while moving towards the sounds of now.”
With vocals recorded in a closet in a very-well-done DIY recording, mixing and mastering job, City has a strong lo-fi, post-punk and early surf rock vibe that fans of Joy Division, Sonic Youth, The Shadows, Flying Nun and Brisbane’s own The Go-Betweens will love. A further nod to sounds of yesteryear, the band has teed up with local legends Valley Heat Records to release City on 10″ vinyl and cassette as well as the usual CD and digital formats.
“We’re thrilled to have a run of collectors editions on vinyl and cassette. The ritual of pulling a record out of it’s sleeve and placing it on the turntable is delicious and the warmth of sound on vinyl is bliss. There’s also something very definitive about picking up a chunky cassette and clicking down the play button – I think a tape revival is surfing in on the airwaves!”
The first of three EPs to be released this year, City will be launched at an intimate show at Brisbane’s The Milk Factory on Friday, 16 March with collectable merchandise available on the night.
Get your nostalgia and Brisbane fandom on by streaming The Double Happiness’ debut EP City exclusively below and read more about the meaning behind the tracks in the band’s track-by-track description. The Double Happiness launch their debut EP City with a show at The Milk Factory on Friday, 16 March. City is out via Valley Heat Records the same day.
'CITY' EP TRACK-BY-TRACK DESCRIPTION
The eponymous single is an energetic yet reflective take on finding one’s place in a city. It moves with the pulse of peak-hour traffic, the hectic energy that mixes with the anonymity of a large metropolis.
Look into your rear-view mirror as you listen to Stalker, a riff-driven ode to the nervous pop-star. At any one time at least two members of the band think this is their favourite Double Happiness song.
The track Nanna is an affectionate collection of anecdotes of Peter’s Nanna, which proves to be a melancholic but sweet tribute to one of The Gap’s most interesting former residents. The swell of the jangly guitar solo will melt your heart like a Brisbane summer.
- TALL BUILDINGS
Tall Buildings recounts one memorable evening on a balcony at Southbank, with treasured friends overlooking a brown river towards the city skyline. Which building is Brisbane’s “Ladyshaver?” This track has a lot of joy in it’s rhythm and at its heart.
- DOUBLE HAPPINESS (I WANT MY)
The band may have been named after the table tennis table that occupies their practice room, and this theme tune is a short, sharp lesson in ping pong moves. Pete’s deep baritone adds contrast to the frenetic pace.
- TAKING A DIVE
Finally, Taking a Dive, is the concluding track to many a Double Happiness gig. With minimal lyrics, this essentially instrumental tune builds to a climax that’s infectious in its simplicity. Sometimes a song bowls you over with affectionate feels. This is that song.
CITY – THE DOUBLE HAPPINESS
Feature image by Lisa Henry