Slowbeat rock duo Happiness Junkies from the Amsterdam area have released a 10-track self-titled debut album filled with music that makes you feel and think. The female-male duo, made up of El (lead vocals, piano and percussion) and Onno (guitar, bass backup vocals and drum programming) offer up rock melancholia with intelligent lyrics that you can ease your mind into. Off their debut, their first single “You can Leave Your Light On” will draw you into their unique musical perspective.
“You Can Leave Your Light On” commences with light and precise percussion, soft rhythm guitar and piano chords played in a slow arpeggio. The mood is immediately introspective and sedate. El enters with the first line of the verse, “I know your rights. I know your wrongs. And don't you think the world will carry on.” El’s voice is very moving. When she sings, it hits a nerve deep in the soul and stays. She has a clear, warm and articulate tone that resonates with the track’s pensive vibe.
The duo does a great job layering things up to create a sound that is bigger than two. Guitarist Ono knows his craft well and uses it to full effect with pedals, including an octaver, to produce tasteful guitar and bass lines simultaneously. Together, they do a nice job blending organic instruments (piano and guitar) with synthesized, composed slow-beats. The song’s mesmerizing arrangement has a floating feeling that listeners will get lost in. At the very end El elevates her vocals for an overall very convincing performance.
Lyrically, the songwriting is superb. The message revolves around the transient and fleeting ebb and flows of life (the highs and lows, the rights and wrongs, the fun and sadness) and the one thing that is always constant and worth keeping lit – love. Love is the light that is worth leaving on. The lyrics combined with fragile music sensibilities yield a longing quality. Please take a moment to check out the video below:
True to their genre, the Happiness Junkies are never sappy or overtly sentimental and this is key to making really good melancholic rock. With moving vocals, creative guitar playing and intelligent lyrics, the pensive and dreamy Happiness Junkies are a welcome addiction.
For more information on the duo, please visit their website.