Happy Birthday Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday Happy Birthday
Featuring members of Feathers, Witch and the sister of tUnE-yArDs' Merrill Garbus, Happy Birthday bypass the frustration of their Google-unfriendly name with a weighty dose of sludgy pop glee. Like forbearers Royal Trux, the trio aren't the cleanest bunch of musicians — the guitars rely on their Big Muff pedals like a painkiller, and the three-way vocals of Ruth Garbus, Kyle (King Tuff) Thomas and Chris Weisman mosey in and out of tune with balls of scruff in their throats. But they pull it together just like Neil and Jennifer did on occasion back in the day, laying down some true beach-bound pop ("Girls FM"), sun-kissed harmonies ("Subliminal Message"), dazed and confused psychedelia ("Perverted Girl") and skeezy, aggro blues rock ("Zit"). Had Royal Trux been weaned off their fix of Stones and heroin and invested in some Pixie Stix and the Nazz records, Happy Birthday would be quite the miscreants. But knowing that history played out the other way, they're as excitable and exciting as their name implies. (Sub Pop)