Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Review #147: Happy Flowers - Songs for Children (EP) (1984)


Year: 1984
Genre: Punk Rock
Label: Catch Trout Records

10 Minutes
My Rating:

Happy Flowers iz just one of those kinds of bands... part genius, part hilarious, part gloriously inept. And part legit, also. The band formed in 1983 (ten years before my birth) in Charlottesville, Virginia, by two members of a hardcore band called the Landlords... that band released one album called "It's a Teenage House Party With the Landlords". Shortly afterwards, the members of the band went their separate ways and John Beers and Charlie Kramer both decided to start Happy Flowers. John was now "Mr. Horribly Charred Infant", and Charlie was now "Mr. Anus". Two names I wish my parents had given me. "Songs for Children" was the first Happy Flowers release. You can just imagine a cute little 7" record in a store with nice kiddie drawings on it and a name like 'Happy Flowers', and hey, the songs are for CHILDREN, also! What fun! A naive parent would pick this up, play it on the record player to put the 2-year-old to sleep, and then ten minutes later the 2-year-old would walk out of the bedroom looking like Charles Manson. That's the greatness of Happy Flowers for you. The early songs of Happy Flowers have practically no structure at all, just grumbling guitar damage, screaming, and if you're lucky, dialouge that resembles lyrics. The 7" also contains the band's most famous song, "Mom, I Gave the Cat Some Acid".

1. Mom, I Gave the Cat Some Acid
Starts off with the revving guitar sounds of what sounds like a really large animal dying and desperately trying to escape from a tar pit. Soon we hear Mr. Horribly Charred Infant moan a childlike "Moooommm...", looking for sympathy in this tone of voice, but this "Mom" character does not hear him, so then Mr. Anus speaks up. Soon enough, the wimpers turn into screams, and the two continue to scream, "MOM, I GAVE THE CAT SOME ACID!!!", while begging Mom not to tell Dad or the Police. I suppose this type of thing is so hilarious because it's so easy to envision it actually happening in real life. From the childlike vocabulary to the idea of a little kid accidentally giving a cat acid and then freaking out about it, the song pretty much paints its own picture with just one phrase. I wonder how much acid they were on when they did this... this song basically set the standard for the other Happy Flowers tunes, in that they became famous for the group basically screaming about childhood freak-accidents of noisy music. I think this song was on a compilation as well. But yeah, you haven't lived until you've heard this song. And once you've heard it, you've died. But then you get to live again. Now, for the B-Sides.

2. Meadowlands
Starts out sounding enough like a song with a melody, with a folky sort of electric guitar melody, with only a little bit of fucked-up shit in the background, until a really loud scream is heard, and the whole thing just turns into a heavy, improvised, noisy monster of a song. There's actually a little bit of a melody in there if you listen real hard, but it's so overshadowed by the chaos that dominates the song that you barely even notice it. Even after the guitars stop playing, you still hear that same scream repeated over and over again amidst the silence.

3. Requests
This one basically featured Mr. Horribly Charred Infant singing a bunch of random pop songs over a bunch of scary wild guitar noize with Mr. Anus sort of singing along in the background. Perhaps some people "requested" that they play these songs and this wuz the result. Then there's a bunch of feedback.

FUN FAKT: Hey, kidz! Did you know that if you play Happy Flowers music around a Flower garden, that the flowers will all get really Happy and come to life and then EAT YOU? No, really, it's true! What do you think tulips use those lips for anyways? THEY HAVE MOUTHS, DUMBASS! And stuff like that. These songs were later featured on the album "Making the Bunny Pay", which contains this EP and the second EP called "Now We Are Six". I'll review that one also sometime. But for now, hope you enjoyed my review and the wonderful music, and remember to play this music for your children all the time!

1 comment:

  1. Actually, The Landlords and Happy Flowers existed concurrently for several years.