The Happiest Days of Our Lives
Next phase? New wave? Dance craze? Anyway…The continuing story of My Favorite.
If I seem to wax rhapsodic in what follows, I have my reasons. This band’s music and I go back a couple years. Reviewing one of the three previously released EPs that alongside four new songs and a disc of remixes make up this album’s content, I said:
“The songs are not at all without moments to stir the blood of an old ’80s man, but they also sound somehow slight… it seems likely that presented as part of an album, the whole experience might be more satisfactory.”
I was right. The Happiest Days of Our Lives is 16 songs and 14 remixes awash in synthesizers, piano, skilled if artless vocals, treated guitars and programmed-sounding but apparently live drums. The synths are played by vocalist/co-songwriter Michael Grace, Jr., vocalist Andrea Vaughn and guitarist/co-songwriter Darren Amadio, the drums by the suspiciously named Todbot. The songs are veiled, beneath the waves, clever lyrics more heard the older the LP gets.
Caught unaware, “Rescue Us” could kill you because My Favorite is not of this era. This is the band for you if The Pacific Age, Black Celebration, Louder Than Bombs, Substance, or (Duran’s) Decade were ever your escape. Escape from the shadow of the bomb — which makes a cameo appearance in the Double Agent remix of “Homeless Club Kids”– or somebody’s shade of eye shadow. Or just from somebody’s eyes. My Favorite use the technology of past decades to make songs which they hope will last through the next, for Blue Girls and their boyfriends. The ones who spent entire summers “listening to The Black Cassette,” in Grace’s song of the same name.
This is music that matters to me. The songs have become requirements; Grace’s obsessions suddenly seem to have become mine. The alien, the girl or boy “differing in nature or character typically to the point of incompatibility,” to quote Webster’s. “All of this snow just made us glow in the dark” is the final line of “Burning Hearts” and an evocative image of My Favorite’s lyrical concept: The things that we thought made us cold actually made us special.
In my mind there is a John Hughes movie for all decades. In it, a teenage Helen Slater is constantly “Half There and Dancing” with James Dean to “The Suburbs Are Killing Us.” Dancing in order to keep herself from going over the edge as they await the ambulance.
Double Agent Records: http://www.doubleagentrecords.com/