Oklahoma City indie band Tony Brown’s Happy Hour leans toward the stark coldness of Pink Floyd psychedelia instead of the woozy distortion of Haight-Ashbury psychedelia on its debut album, “The Samson Mammoth.”
While some distorted, bright moments appear early in the record, the majority of the album focuses on acoustic guitar, piano, simple drumming and intermittent keys, best personified by the standout track, “My Demons and I.” So committed are the members of Happy Hour to the space and precision of the mood that they insert a full stop of five seconds for dramatic effect. It works.
While the moods invoked are icy ones, the songs are by no means devoid of emotion. The acoustic “Sincerely L. Brown” comes off like a murder ballad, while retaining connection to the rest of the album through the heavy reverb on the low vocals. “Hit Songs of the Summer” invokes a similar mood, but with more synth backdrop.
Coldness doesn’t mean slow and static, either; “Some Days I Don’t Care” is propelled by a pressing bass line and relentless piano riff.
As with almost any debut, some songs miss the mark in terms of mood. But the majority of the tunes on “The Samson Mammoth” are well-constructed and contribute to the flow of the album. With “My Demons and I” and “Some Days I Don’t Care” as anchors, “Mammoth” marks an excellent hello from Tony Brown’s Happy Hour to the metro music scene. “Stephen Carradini