ALBUM REVIEW: “Bit of Brightness” by Full Power Happy Hour

Content note: This article includes stories about mental illness. If this brings up anything for you, please reach out to a safe person or call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Human beings have turned to art and music for many reasons over the years. Depending on how it resonates with you it either acts as a mere form of entertainment or as way to help you shape your identity and find meaning in this world. The intellectulised critque of modern culture uses certain metrics to place value on the kind of consumer you are and whilst there is a tiny grain of truth to the definition of who is or isn’t a “real” fan of art and music it is basically a game played by insecure gatekeepers worried that we’re all bound to find out that underneath their big dick energy there is a terrible human being lurking, you know that traditional jerk-off who requests a full powerpoint presentation simply because you are wearing a t-shirt of a sacred band they love and adore. For those that can expand beyond that idea and limited scope of human evaluation, art and music is about the joy of discovery both of the internal and external world. Whether it is above ground, below ground, mainstream or independent, obscure or a household name, art and music puts you on a path to indulge your emotional landscapes to find out where you fit and through said discovery you find a community. Scenes and aesthetics are birthed through that sense of adventure regardless of if you are the artist or the fan. The positive change that comes from consuming creativity is revolutionary and the great healer.

In 2022 the role of the artist is more important than ever when it comes to providing the joy to our suffering. The artist offers us the oppurtunity to confront complex emotional issues through the lens of their self-expression and need to express something deep within themselves in order to encourage the world to understand them and other human beings a bit better. This plea for understanding haunts every artist and while we can romanticise the idea of “suffering for your art” there is indeed a timeless truth to this concept. Out of their suffering the artist will construct raw pieces of art that gives purpose and depth to what it is they are looking to communicate. As the artist grows this need to emote becomes influenced by their experience and observations of the world they inhabit. This disection of their own personal internal world helps give purpose and voice to those of us lucky enough to consume their art. As fans we can lean into what they have created and have it resonate with our personal ache to be seen and understood giving us the bravery to grow and learn something deeper about ourselves. No matter how planned or accidential it is, the artist can provide the world a reason to feel less alone and through the resonance engage a will to survive and knowledge that as human beings, despite our differences, we all have internal emotional injuries that need tending to in order to find an even piece of ground to stand on and feel justified in our existence. In this great struggle for equality and diversity the artist acts as the mediator making sure that everyone gets the oppurunity to have a seat at the table and be treated with fairness and kindness.

As Artists, Full Power Happy Hour are the perfect example of a group of humans who know how to use their art to bring joy to the universe. They are fully disciplined in the business of being master communicators and connecting to that deepest part of us all in order to help us discover something about ourselves as human beings. On their second record which is called “Bit of Brightness” the group go beyond their debut and utilise the personal experiences of the recent few years to birth a selection of songs that offer raw emotional insight into the exhaustion and catharsis of finding the light at the end of the tunnel in that quest for self-discovery and understanding your place within the world. The brightness may be thick and ever present aesthetically but on impact you can tell that the journey to these exquiste pop songs was paved in the dirge that is modern existence.

This collision of indie rock, country and western and pop music is expertly captured by the production work of Nell Foster, keeping the live feel of the band front and centre. You feel like you are in the room with the group with each player bringing their own style. It instantly takes me to the fantastic sounds of Big Theif but only in spirit because Full Power Happy Hour, like the aforementioned influence, wonderfully mix the styles of indie rock and country to birth something that is unique to them. You get the feeling after experiencing this record that the group has set themselves up as a musical chameleon, rooted in certain aesthetics but always on the hunt to break free and challenge their sound and audience. The country and western dynamics used by the group are expertly anchored to many of the pioneering artists of that vehicle of musical expression. Weaving in and out of the twang there is also a deep understanding of the power that the punk rock spirit can provide the genre of country music with echoes of the Jeff Tweedy family tree rooted, either consciously or unconsciously, in the presentation of each track and the overall production.

It’s dusty and stark, polished and fractured, bright and bleak but wholly unique and the work of human beings committed to sincerity and honest raw communications with their art and music. I could offer a waterfall of juxtaposed adjectives but the experience of this music can be simply described as a powerful cathartic excursion through self-discovery linked heavily to the death and re-birth of the ego and how one must confront their true idenity and the impact this will have on the human relationships around them. Being who you are is a complex echosystem of trust falling into those who love you most and when even they feel challenged by who you are and what you need to be as a person having a human experience then things can get dark and complicated. These songs are full of tales of that struggle and that need to be seen and understood and the desire to be free of the pain that comes with being a percieved idea in someone elses reality.

That kind of roar and desire to get people to understand when you’re constantly misunderstood becomes the injury of being someone who does their best to inspire positive change. To quote a recent line to enter the Star Wars mythology “The axe forgets but the tree always remembers” and although this was used in a galaxy far far away it is actually an Zimbabwean proverb from the Shona tribe, meaning that “a person who harms another or borrows from someone will often forget, but the person who is harmed or borrowed from will always remember” and it is an appropriate way to think about the core feeling at the centre of this fantastic piece of art from Full Power Happy Hour.

The journey to “Bit of Brightness” was one littered with pain and loss. Out of this struggle the artists in this group used the power of grief and the love they share with each other as humans to collectively illustrate their angst. What we get as fans is a timeless set of songs that help us discover something about ourselves. You can come to this album and hear a flawless piece of art and appreciate the performance of a band in full flight, that alone is good reason to invest. For me though, it goes deeper and I feel that repeated exposure to the music and art of Full Power Happy Hour and their second album “Bit of Brightness” will help restore peace to the galaxy.

By: Daniel James Newton

Photo by: Seamus Platt

Artist: Full Power Happy Hour

Album: Bit of Brightness

Release Date: November 4, 2022

Label: Coolin’ By Sounds

Home to: Dumb Things | Full Power Happy Hour |
Mick Thomas | Tape/Off and more

Pre-Save your copy of “Bit of Brightness” on the below link:

https://li.sten.to/bit-of-brightness

FULL POWER HAPPY HOUR ALBUM TOUR

Nov 11 – Black Bear Lodge (QLD) Brisbane | with McKisko + Renovators Delight

Nov 12 – Sonic Sherpa (QLD) Brisbane

Nov 19 – Banshees Bar (QLD) Ipswich | with McKisko + Stan

Dec 1 – Smiths Alternative (ACT) Canberra | with Mick Thomas’ Roving Commission

Dec 2 – The Great Club (NSW) Sydney | with Mick Thomas’ Roving Commission

Dec 3 – The Baroque Room (NSW) Katoomba | with Mick Thomas’ Roving Commission

Dec 4 – Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall (QLD) Brisbane | with Mick Thomas’ Roving Commission

Tickets available on the following link: https://li.sten.to/bit-of-brightness

Album Credits:

Recorded & mixed by Nell Forster, The Moon Room, Meanjin/Brisbane


Mastered by Chris Chetland, Kog Studio, Aotearoa/New Zealand

https://www.kog.co.nz

Band Photos by Seamus Platt – https://linktr.ee/seamus.platt

Album Artwork by Bryce Flaskas

Useful Links:

Full Power Happy Hour

Coolin’ By Sound

Sonic Sherpa

https://www.sonicsherpa.com.au/

Paper Snax on 4ZZZ

4ZZZ

https://linktr.ee/4ZZZRadio

If this article brings up anything for you, please reach out to a safe person or call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Heavy and Weird acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which we work, the Jagera and Turrbal people. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.

Thank You for your support and please go and support these artists that I share – don’t just stream them – buy tickets to their concerts when you can, buy their merchandise and buy their albums on a physical format – respect the artists you consume by paying for it

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