Don't worry, be happy
Happy Accidents

Happy Accidents

Sticky Mike's, Brighton - 18th July 2015
I'm not sure if there is an accurate measure of these things, but if you solely count the number of times you play their music, then Happy Accidents are my favourite band in the world. You may not have heard of this three-piece punk-pop trio from the region where Essex and East London blur into one, but since they released their five-track Not Yet Jaded EP in October last year no other artist has even come close. With each song registering over a hundred listens, a certain sign of the collection's consistent quality, the band's total of plays doubles that of nearest rivals Keith Levene, David Bowie and Wire, let alone the also-rans. That it is still impossible to fathom out which track is the best of the five is also a sign of ludicrously high standards.

Putting it simply, Happy Accidents are a joy; their catchy and melodic thrash pop is filled with glorious whoops, fantastic backing vocals, and clever lyrics sung with both feeling and rapidity by singer-guitarist Rich who makes full play of his regional accent in a way that only adds to the songs' unremitting charm.

The band are here tonight as one of the acts on Fresh Punk vs Dude Ranch's gathering of up and coming punk bands, great value at just a fiver entry, though sadly the venue is not bursting at the seams. With around thirty in the audience as Happy Accidents take to the stage, there can't have been many paying punters if you take into account the five bands present, but those who aren't there are simply missing out on a treat. For Happy Accidents don't just record great songs, they are also great to watch and look like a band who love every minute of being on stage. Drummer Phoebe has a constant grin on her face, while Rich keeps time with his right leg as he sings, jacknifes across the stage to take on one of his brilliantly effective solos and announces the end of each song so the punters are not caught out. Bassist Neil is also lapping up every second, carrying some nice poses, and the connection when all three are singing is impossible to miss.

Happy Accidents are fun and have fun and that is something that is hopelessly underrated in music these days. Of course, it is no recommendation on its own, but combine it with intelligence, charisma and talent and surely you are on to a winner? Take a glance at their video for 'Autopilot' and see if you can watch it without smiling. Or dancing along to it. And then have a listen to the lyrics. This is a rare band indeed.

Come on, even the set list for the night has pictures of hearts and pizza on it and the titles of the songs are divided by neat wavy lines. This is youthful exuberance in full flow and we can only hope the cynicism creeps in only slowly with age.

The band play seven songs, including three from their most aptly titled debut EP in the beautifully observed 'Small Talk' ("And we share this mutual space because of lack of other choice..."), 'Nostalgia' (And though I do not look it I'm now grown ...") and the utterly brilliant 'Autopliot' ("Only thing for certain is uncertainty..."). Also thrown in is the quickfire 'Rather Not Know' which is the band's contribution to a four-way single soon to be released by Don't Ask Records, additionally featuring Austeros, Isaac and Young Attenborough. Newer tracks 'Chameleon', 'Biffy' and 'Apple Tree' round off the set.

This is the first time we have caught Happy Accidents live for some months and they are clearly growing as performers, exuding both confidence and presence. There may be a way to go, but this is potentially a great band at the beginning of a journey, but one who have already made enormous strides. Make every effort to catch them live – next up is Dorking on 15th August. Be there.


Happy Accidents live at Sticky Mike's
Words and Pictures by Adam Hammond
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