Monday 26 September 2011

Happy Particles - Under Sleeping Waves

In my experience, particles are miserable wee bastards.  They never do what you want, and there's never enough of them when you need them, something my thesis can attest to.  And now, if folk are to be believed, they've only gone and disproved Einstein.  What a belligerent bunch of subatomic f**ks they truly are!  So you can understand my scepticism when a Glasgow sextet claiming to be 'Happy Particles' got in touch with their debut album Under Sleeping Waves.   By the end of my first listen I'd been forced to rethink those particular views engrained in me in recent years.  And by the end of the many subsequent listens, I've been completely swept away by what is surely one of the, if not thee, most uplifting albums of the year.

So what does this album sound like!?  Well, there's shoegazey shades of Asobi Seksu and at times, the fuzziness of fellow Scots Penguins Kill Polar Bears can be heard coming through.  For the most part though, their sound is a stunning coming together of Death Cab For Cutie and Sigur Rós.   And Under Sleeping Waves does not pale in comparison.  Not a jot.  Take Slowness as a prime example.   What starts as a dreamy vocal and simple, repeated melody builds up into 2-and-a-half minutes of something quite spectacular, awash with delicate percussion and stunning strings in perfect, beautiful harmony.

As standout tracks go, pretty much every one fits the bill here, with Empty Circles (streaming below) showing glimpses of a more intense side to the band, and the warming atmosphere of Offline Contact fully justifying their 'ambient pop, contemporary classical' tag.   But as very few bands seem to do, they save the best for last with A.M. Sky (Bleary).  Sublime does not even cut it, and that's just the vocals.  You won't hear a better song this year!

Under Sleeping Waves is an album which will simultaneously break your heart and gently piece it back together again.  It's an album that appeals to both the music lover, and physics geek inside me.  But above all, it's a album which is just absolutely stunning!

The album is out on Christmas Day! Keep your eyes peeled here for updates.

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