The Space started out, as far as I know, as a venue not much bigger than a large closet. It has since evolved and become the one of the only places for local bands to play in the state of Connecticut. Featuring odd lighting, iffy sound, an awesome staff and a super cool store, The Space has introduced me to many bands. Included in these bands is my favorite unsigned band, Shadowgraphs (formerly Eschellon). During a certain show by said band a trio named Welcome held one of 3 opening spots. Welcome took my by surprise, for this was way before my understanding of sampled music. It was way over my head that this band made melodic music without guitars or piano, yet they did make quite an impression on me. Enough of an impression that 2 years later I have dug out their debut EP, Happy Sad Fun Music
Welcome are, as I stated before, a guitar-less band. The three members are:
Carmella- Bass, Synthesizers, Vocals
Steve- Samples, Effects, Vocals
Dave- Drums, Keyboard
Despite lack of a six string, Welcome creates everything from head-bobbing pop tunes (Medicine Haze) to emotional ballads (Slower Sound) with ease. All of the members are quite talented. Steve and Carmella’s vocals intertwine and trade off quite well. Their harmonies are near perfect and thankfully happen quite a lot. Singing solo both sound great, but the spotlight is more pointed to Carmella, obviously the lead singer. Her vocals are slightly jazzy and laid back, which when used above the synth-pop styling of the band she belongs to, sound truly awesome.
What Carmella and Steve sing is another story. Unlike what my descriptions may have hinted to, Welcome’s lyrics are not very serious. I don’t mean that their lyrics have no value, I mean it in that their lyrics are quite clever and humorous, and well written. It is not uncommon for Welcome to use lyrics that revolve around everyday occurrences but have a deeper meaning. “Pond hockey, you were relegated to goalie. This is the position reserved for the children who didn't get ice skates for Christmas. You're all alone between pairs of snow boots unprotected. You let in one too many errant shots while we all chanted. Siv! Siv! Siv! Siv!” is an example of this humor and cleverness. Taken from the indie-pop tune “Baby New Year” these selected lyrics are sung over a warm synth line and a simple drumbeat.
Welcome’s music is a unique combination of weird ambience and familiar pop-sounds. Songs like “Slower Sound” feature almost Post-Rock keyboard lines in the verses and Indie-esque sampled guitar in the choruses, all of this sits atop a cool combination of good drumming and come simple drum samples and a healthy (upright?) bass part. Such an odd styling of song is not uncommon on Happy Sad Fun Music. Welcome spread many genres over such a small EP. “Xtra Effort”, would not be out of place on the 80’s pop chart (especially since it samples a song of the decade) while “Medicine Haze” is so dark and heavy it could pass as a metal song if it not be for the soft and pleasant vocals.
In its entirety Welcome’s debut EP is a good album. There aren’t any bad songs, yet there aren’t any truly breathtakingly amazing ones either. It’s a solid effort for sure and worth the buy (or the download from broadjam.com/artists/artistindex.asp?artistID=26783) for fans of the genre. Happy Sad Fun Music gets a 3.5/5 in my book.