It’s Psychological - Happy Times (Swashbuckling Hobo)
It could be as the title says and allude to obsession, but “It’s Psychological” also proves you can make an entire LP from songs about U-boats and shit food and come out winning.
Maybe it’s something in the sub-tropical water or the inexplicably-labelled local beer (that’d be Fourex to you and me) but Brisbane’s small underground rock scene is teeming. HITS are the heavyweights, Mick Medew is the elder statesman, but there’s plenty more happening if you use a coin to rub the panel on the scratch lottery ticket and look underneath.
Like a U-boat, Happy Times were meant to stay under the surface for the most part and record a solitary single, “Gross Registerable Tonnage”. That formidable depth charge beget a second 45 and live shows, but the band’s evidently gone into dry dock for now as guitarist-vocalist Turbo Nicko has a demanding day job. I’m guessing he’s a psychiatrist.
The 14 songs on this record (LP or download) don’t fuck around. It’s punk rock in the sense of drunk rock, a time-honoured tradition embodied in bands like The Onyas (originally from Brisbane) and those venerable Victorians Cosmic Psychos. It’s music for the groin and not the head. Two buns, no patties, two guitars, guttural vocals and no special sauce.
Happy Times was conceived as a band to sing songs solely about U-boats but you gotta broaden your horizon sometimes, I could bore you with a dissertation on the cultural significance of a song like “Shit Brick Fences of Brisbane” but you can hear it for yourself on Bandcamp. Besides, I’d rather crank “Kebabylon” at stun volume and contemplate the late night nutritional value of cheeseburgers versus kebabs.Or wonder what the fuck “Craw” is all about.
Trash culture themes to one side, Happy Times a baker’s dozen punk choons and an electro-punk closer, the stark “Eleckroboot”, which sounds like Kraftwerk trying to fuck the Cookie Monster after slipping a Roofie into his chocolate milk. At nearly four-and-a-half-minutes it’s the longest cut on the record and the weirdest. By the way, that line about Cookie Monster is probably some Freudian cue to tell you to buy the thing.