Never heard of these guys? I don’t blame you. I mean, when a resource as powerful as google hardly even turns up any information about a band, then it’s a safe bet that even the most hardcore music aficionados aren’t even aware of said band’s existence. Then again, how many people who like punk music actually use the word “aficionado?" Either way, here we have Happy Meals. Well, they’re from Barcelona (Spain). That might be why I can’t find anything about them. Other than that, all I know is that after a few demos and failed record deal ventures, Happy Meals released their debut album Toaster
. If you’d like to know more about them, go here: http://www.bcoredisc.com/ING/bandasBD.php?id_grupo=14
. Well, so what do we know so far? A lot of nothing. Happy Meals are an obscure, curious, and out there band. Interestingly enough, their music isn’t. As a matter of fact, it’s just run-of-the-mill, no frills punk. And you know what? It rocks.
amuses from the start with “Release." Let’s just say you’ll hear someone who might remind you of Joe Pesci dropping the F-bomb in response to someone’s need for him to amuse them. So, you’ve had a good laugh. Then, all of the sudden the music starts. Fast, tight, distorted guitars playing relatively simple things. Punk at it’s finest. Ah, then we get to hear the vocals. Hard, melodic, and singing catchy lyrics. The recipe thickens, and a brew of punk-ish greatness is formed. Seriously, the first song is just that good. “Necessary Odds" continues with an explosion, the perfect follow up to the spark of “Release." The breakdowns in this song are especially impressive. Hookier than a fly fisher’s tackle box, “Necessary Odds" is a perfect song for this moment. It’ll keep you pumped for what’s coming (and there’s a hell of a lot in the near future).
I really like this song’s title: “Feeding My Perversion." Why? “Oh, because he’s a pervert," you may be thinking. Well, you’re wrong. The truth is, the song’s title just syncs so well with the music that it’s almost…wrong. I mean, seriously, the music just seems to scream “Feeding My Perversion." Maybe making catchy music is a perversion in the eyes of those Happy Meals dudes. “Suddenly" slows things down a little. A welcome change of pace, as Toaster
was getting a little too fast
for it’s own good. This is one of my favorite tracks on the album; it’s fun, well-written, and the musical equivalent of a Happy Meal from Mickey D’s. Surprisingly, that’s a good thing (unlike McDonald’s food). “Sleep" speeds thing up again like Speed Racer in the Mach 5. It’s one of those kinds of songs that sucks you in. You’re not sure if you want
to like it, but you can’t help but tap your feet along while it’s playing. Too bad you’ll probably never hear “Sleep" on a radio. It would make a kickass driving song (just as long as it doesn’t come on at night, for obvious reasons).
“Should Be Change" is a contradiction in and of itself. It keeps things going at the same breakneck pace, and therefore doesn’t “change" the pace of Toaster
at all. However, that’s not a bad thing at all (hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it). “Against" actually reminds me of an Amazing Transparent Man
song. I wish I could remember which one (I must be getting senile in my young age). All similarities aside, “Against" features the catchiest lyrics on the album. If you don’t sing along once you learn the words, then you obviously have no sense of humor. “Man Wolf" shows that punk can be fun with a little bit of technicality in the instrumentation. Excellent guitar work and fantastic drumming are the strong points of this song. As “Man Wolf" bridges into a crazy bass breakdown, you can pretty much assume that you’ve come across another one of Toaster
“Rely on Time" has one smooth intro. That said, it’s more of the same: catchy punk, complete with hooks. It’s a tried and true formula on Toaster
. Ah, we now have to point were Toaster
produces it’s best results: the golden brown, butter ready “The Boys Behind the Ambush." So, you can already tell that it’s a good song from the bitchin’ title, right? Well, if you can’t let me pass you the jam: Hardcore-esque vocals, and one crazy guitar solo. Yes, it’s punk so we have to lower our standards involving the words “crazy," and “guitar," and “solo" being put together; when you look past that technicality, though, you’re left with the strongest song on the album. So, how do Happy Meals end their Toaster
? With “Bunker Life." Not quite the kick in the face you’d expect this album to end with, but a worthy conclusion nonetheless.
Let’s recap shall we? Here’s what we have: Happy Meals; Barcelona; Toaster
; punk; McDonald’s; fly fishing; Speed Racer; perverts. Yeah, let’s make that the legacy of Happy Meals (as they broke up in late 2004). Well, maybe now the world can get a rough picture of the band, and they’re excellent debut Toaster
. However, let me stress the fact that this album is far from perfect. For one, the production sucks. Seriously, it leaves much
to be desired. In addition to that, the album is, on the whole, very similar. Yes, these are minor quibbles, and if you can look past them, you find yourself with a solid punk album. All I really want to know about Happy Meals now is why the hell they named this Toaster