Bush Tetras may not have received the proper recognition at the time, but Happy offers enough hindsight to correct that error.
Review by David Feltman
Post-punk died out in the late 80s with the advent of grunge. Well, mostly died out. NYC’s Bush Tetras, though never as successful as Talking Heads or The Replacements, have managed to release albums sporadically throughout the years. Ever on the fringe of a fringe genre, little has changed with the bands sound over the years. There’s still a little funk tucked away in all of that post-punk/pre-grunge angst.
Their newest album, Happy, makes the legacy of this obscure band indisputable. A glimmer of Karen O. and Yeah Yeah Yeahs tints the opening track, “Heart Attack.” The slow and languid spoken word style of “Slap” screams Sonic Youth. And it’s hard to tell if My Bloody Valentine may have influenced Bush Tetras or vice versa on the buzz-laden shoegaze of “Chinese Afro.” The ghost of Bush Tetras haunts such past and present bands retroactively on this album. The band may not have received the proper recognition at the time, but Happy offers enough hindsight to correct that error.
Ghosts aside, Happy is a high energy, attitude drenched album filled to bursting with moody post-punk posturing. There are a handful of cool down tracks to give you a breather from all the rocking, although some tracks like “Ocean,” can only maintain the cool down mode for a couple of minutes before ramping back up into full blown rock. This album is every ounce a product of the late 80s/early 90s. The quiet, loud, quiet dynamics, tracks loaded with distortion and feedback, the loose and noodling song structures are all here. Happy is an album outside of time asking for another chance. It’s a chance that’s well deserved.
Happy releases everywhere November 13 and you can learn more about the band at their official Facebook page.