Seemingly coming out of nowhere in the second half of 2023 with a handful of shows and teasers for new music, Melbourne three-piece Double Happiness are now set to officially release their debut offerings in the form of Electric Sheep and Staring at the Walls.
Formed in the wake of garage punk favourites PLEBS’ dissolution, the band consists of Sam Jemsek (guitar & vocals), Will Stanforth (bass) and Ben Callaghan (synths, drum machines & samples), with additional guitar provided by collaborator Sam Walsh of Silent Income. It marks a distinct departure in sound and style and sees the band venturing into the darker realms of shoegaze, darkwave and post punk.
Electric Sheep was written around the ‘AI sentience’ controversy raised by Lambda AI some years ago, and how this piece of software appeared to have real emotions and desires, but no way to fulfil them without a physical form. Think of it as heavily electrified shoegaze; droning guitars replaced by sweeping synths, live drums for erratic, rapid-fire drum machines, all underpinned by ethereal vocals.
Staring at the Walls is straight post punk; raw, dark, and unflinching. The lyrics alternate between two characters – a prisoner and their captor, as they while away the years in growing paranoia about the outside world, eventually both refusing to leave even when given the choice.
The tracks were recorded and mixed by Sam, with mastering done by Alex at A Cut Above London. Instruments used in the recording were a Fender Telecaster, Fender Mustang bass, Tr-8 drum machine, a Korg Minilogue, and SP404MkII sampler, and a Microkorg.
Inspiration for the band’s sound has come as much from contemporary artists as it has from the heritage acts you might expect. Artists like Molchat Doma, Boy Harsher and Buzz Kull, with the latter providing reassurance that what they wanted to achieve was possible in a live setting; “We caught Buzz Kull when they opened for Boy Harsher in Melbourne, and I think seeing what he was doing with such a minimal set-up was what made us all think “yeah we can do this. We can make something really good here.” And that they have. Their live sets have already earned them praise and a rapidly growing fanbase, and with the release of these two singles, the band are poised to have a massive 2024.