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Album Review: The Happy Fits Squeeze Out the Hits on Concentrate

This review could be done in four simple words. Album of the Year. 

Could it be true that a three-piece indie rock band out of New Jersey with no major label backing pull off a feat like this? In my opinion, yes.

It actually took a while to get around to this review, as I wanted to be sure what I was hearing was as good as I thought. Released on June 15th, this has been in my steady rotation ever since the reviewer copy was out a couple of months prior. In part, the waiting was due to me wanting to let my writing* and reviewing skills catch up to what this eleven track masterpiece deserved. (*hint: they didn’t)

L-R: Ross, Calvin, and Luke are The Happy Fits © Allison Heimberger

The Happy Fits line-up consists of Ross Monteith on guitar, Calvin Langman on cello, and Luke Davis on drums. The use of cello is as unexpected as the eclectic song stylings. The songs all include what makes Concentrate great – simplistic, effective song structures with effortless on-point harmonies that are all delivered with a buoyant zest. 

Their ability to all share vocal duties give this album a sound that reminds me a little of a fab four-piece group from the sixties. With a sound that has the ability to transcend generations, these three have positioned themselves to take over music. Every song on this album deserves to be on constant Top 40 radio rotation. If just one track hit mainstream radio today, that’s all it would take to make The Happy Fits a household name.

The album starts off with “Achey Bones”  and “Best Tears” – with a similar sound to their 2016 debut EP, Awfully Appealin’. With current youthful lyrical content and smooth harmonies, all delivered with instrumentation and structures that are virtually perfect for this project.

As the album enters the fourth track with “Hungry People” , you can feel the maturity start to take shape. Filled with all The Happy Fits swagger, it also infuses some punk-ish feelings as it picks up the pace. The following track, “Reason for Dreaming“, is an absolutely beautiful track. Featuring a simple bass line throughout most of the song with Calvin’s lead vocals along with superb harmonies giving one the chills. What really caps things off is Ross’ guitar instrumental at the end, sans lyrics, like icing on your favorite cake. It is at this point in the album when they pull off a most amazing transition. As “Grow Back” starts, you still have the remnants of the previous track flowing through your head, and as this track progresses it goes into total takeover mode. As the one-minute mark approaches the chants of “Let it grow back…” repeats a handful of times until the song absolutely explodes into the heaviest head-banger these three have ever recorded. 

Check out Grow Back

A real foot stomper is up by track eight with “Mary” . The heavy drum beats coupled with the isolated cello, make for an energetic romp. This track coupled with “Grow Back” really show their chops as musicians, and their ability to arrange music that has real feeling. “Relimerance” is an interestingly structured song that starts off quaint and acoustic and then picks up and expands by mid-point. Finishing up with a ballad, “Little Words” puts a perfect cap on this amazing collection of eleven songs. Filled with acoustic guitar, cello, and harmonies, it does what The Happy Fits do best – keeping away from overproduced music and bringing it to you straight and beautiful.

Not many since The Beatles have created such simplistic, perfectly crafted melodies with innocence, fun, and hope. While reaching out to a youthful audience, The Happy Fits have crafted anthems for a generation.

It takes special songs to stand out in the crowd these days, and this album is full of those. 

Concentrate Track Listing:

  1. Achey Bones
  2. Best Tears
  3. So Alright, Cool, Whatever
  4. Hungry People
  5. Reason for Dreaming
  6. Grow Back
  7. Heart of a Dancer
  8. Mary
  9. Haunted Lust
  10. Relimerance
  11. Little Words

The Happy Fits:

Review by:
Allen Heimberger

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