Saturday, November 1, 2008

Essex Green - Happy Happy Birthday To Me Singles Club, April

(Happy Happy Birthday To Me, 2000)

Four gentle, folksy pop nuggets that, home-recorded as they are, take a more sparse instrumental approach than any of the Essex Green’s full-lengths. And while none of the music on here is as necessary as what’s on the first EP and LP, a rougher version of the group’s chamber folk still makes for a pleasant late-night listen. The band, in its early days, was interesting in a mid-60s Kinks style for writing pretty guy- and gal-sung songs about mundane subjects – cats, golf, the weather – and these lyrics are suitably rootsy and down to earth (the in-defense-of-squares Dylan parody “My Guitar’s Too Cool For Me” is a fine joke). The band later reissued most of this single on an obscure, self-released version of its debut EP, but mysteriously left off both “Yesterday & Today” and the radio static that linked each track.

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