This past August, indie-pop trio The Happy Fits released their third album, titled Under the Shade of Green. It follows the pattern of featuring a fruit on the cover, established in their previous two albums and EP (the orange-covered Concentrate, the grapefruit-themed What Could Be Better, and their first release, the banana-EP Awfully Apeelin’), with Under the Shade of Green featuring a pineapple. While the pineapple doesn’t relate to the themes of the album very much, the title, Under the Shade of Green, shares the more vulnerable and isolated tone that the album contains.
It was a pleasant surprise hearing the lyrics to the album for the first time. Most of the band’s previous songs were all on the lighter songs, and while some tracks like the band’s most popular So Alright, Cool, Whatever, do tackle the subject of coping with being alone and broken up with, none went as deep as some of the tracks in UtSoG do. Dance Alone tackles that fear of being alone, while the lead single, Changes, deals with just how much our lives and world have changed the past few years, with so many life-altering events occurring. The lyric “in an alien world hanging by a thread” encapsulates the tone of the song the best, the feeling of barely being able to continue on when you don’t know everything that’s going on. I also enjoyed the songs on the other end of the spectrum, with Do Your Worst and the rare explicit track In the Lobby being more confrontational and assertive.
The music of the album fits the upbeat Happy Fits sound, elevating the choruses of songs like the catchy and circular Around and Around to the tender upbeat bop Sweet Things. The band is comprised of just three instruments (and vocals), and they utilize the guitar, drums, and especially the electric cello to the fullest extent in the album. It’s not an instrument heard often, and The Happy Fits have incorporated into their songs in such a defining way.
While a few songs do tend to blend together in the album, so many stand out and easily make up for those songs. Under the Shade of Green is a fantastic evolution of The Happy Fits, both lyrically and musically, and I cannot recommend it and the band enough.