Full Power Happy Hour are certainly an eclectic bunch. With backgrounds stemming from a more punk aesthetic but rounding on influences as diverse as folk, indie-rock and alt-country, they have pulled their sound together into something quite different. With their self titled album out on 19 March, and a mini tour to go with, The Live Wire had a Take 5 to get to know Full Power Happy Hour and lucky for us (or them) there is 5 in the band.
Full Power Happy Hour’s self titled album is out on 19 March (see below the Take 5 for review).
Tell us 5 things about Full Power Happy Hour.
Alex: We love burritos
Finn: Rootin tootin..
Grace: Best compliment/insult we’ve ever had was that we look like a family cult.
Joe: Raised by wolves.
Tell us 5 things about your music journey(s) and how you got to where you are today.
Alex: I’ve been writing folky type songs since my sister got me a guitar for my 14th birthday.
Caroline: Me and Alex played in a riot grrrl band together back in 2011.
Alex: and me and Joe used to play in a punk band together too.
Finn: Caroline, me, and Alex lived in a crazy sharehouse together once, so we all knew each other and decided to be a band.
Alex: We knew Grace, but had no idea she played guitar until she answered a call out for a lead guitarist! She’s a dark horse.
Tell us 5 things about your new music, the recording of and the writing of…
Alex: It was partly inspired by the first school strike for climate and it’s about clearing your head in nature.
Joe: It was recorded over a weekend with the amazing Nell Forster at The Moon Room.
Caroline: We learned to play footy in our downtime in a nearby park.
Finn: I couldn’t walk for a week afterwards.
Grace: We went to a cute farm with cute dogs and chickens to film the video for the song.
Name your top 5 inspirations/influences.
Joni Mitchell, The Weather Station, The Clean, The Pogues & The Maes
What’s the next 5 things for you?
Alex: Launching our album and going on tour!
Grace: Maybe touring Aotearoa/New Zealand when Covid chills out
Caroline: Going viral on tik tok
Joe: Be on the next Tony Hawke Pro-skater soundtrack
Finn: Working on our choreography.
Photo by Marnie Vaughn
Full Power Happy Hour – album review
Review by Bec Harbour
There is a lot to say about Full Power Happy Hour being different to a lot of music out there at the moment while also sounding comfortingly familiar. On their self titled debut long player they run the full gamut of alt-country to indie-folk. With diverse backgrounds in punk and riot grrrl and influences like The Pogues, Joni Mitchell and The Clean topped with Alex Campbell’s folk-inflected vocals they have come together with something altogether interesting and beautiful.
The album kicks off with Old Mind of Mine, released last year an alt-country lament that showcases Alex Campbell’s vocals and harmonies by Guitarist Grace Pashley and Caroline Townsend with a rollicking tune. Then we drop into the folk influenced Heart Fell Out, with just Alex’s vocals accompanied by acoustic guitar with the pleading refrain “…it was my heart that fell out on the floor, so please will you be, gentle with me…”
Next up was the indie-rock Morning Juju, this might just be the song about the current state of affairs with its chorus of “wash your hands” or is it actually just about getting up in the morning?
Golden Eggs, which takes us back to the alt-country sound the album started with. Woohaa Everyday has that sweet melodic indie-pop flavour that Mazzy Star or This Mortal Coil has in abundance and drifts along to meet Crying Over Stitches. Crying Over Stitches is where the bands folk influences such as Joni Mitchell come right to the forefront with the sparse guitar (mandolin/ukulele?) and the vocal floating over the top with harmonies chiming in.
Peter is the most rock track on the album, with bass front and centre and the guitar following in the background creating a nice urgency for the vocals to follow. Steely Fences released late last year in December finishes up the album. It is the most country song of all the songs on Full Power Happy Hour, evoking the more upbeat offerings by Lucinda Williams or Katy Steele.
With the cacophony of influences and backgrounds that the band bring to the table this might not have worked, but it has. You get 8 tracks that keep you moving from beginning to end. Stand out of course is the lead track Old Mind of Mine, and personal favourite is Woohaa Everyday with that toe dip into a bit of dream-pop crossed with folk crossed with country.