Happy Meals - Apéro (4 stars)

Synthpop band's new release prove they are one of Glasgow's best kept secrets

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Happy Meals - Apéro

(Night School Records)

Night School Records does it again, with one of the sauciest releases of the year from Glasgow duo, Happy Meals. Suzanne Rodden and Lewis Cook (aka Mother Ganga, and one quarter of The Cosmic Dead) have entwined minimalist cosmic disco and sultry synthpop with a Gallic twist on their raunchfest of a debut, Apéro. Opening track ‘Crystal Salutations’ swiftly sets the dimmers down low with a synth-lead and slow Italo build up with reverbed French-Anglo vocals setting the almost horizontal mood for the following five tracks, conjuring up slow BPM gyrations similar to that of minimalist disco demigod, John Forde – but with a Tangerine flavoured psych mothership hovering above.

The highlight has to be ‘Altered Images’ – with its silky Milk Tray keyboards and a totally girthy bassline which would give Mtume a run for their money in the smooth department. They may be a little indebted to the revivalist label Italians Do It Better with their compilation volumes à la Desire et The Chromatics – or perhaps even Not Not Fun at their poppiest – but it’s a refreshing turn for a Glasgow electronic band to delve so head first into continental balearic style this successfully whilst retaining a certain weegie toughness to it, perhaps bred from the taps aff techno heat of the city’s club scene but with a more elegant and erudite twist. Sophisticated as fuck, so to speak.

Slow burner ‘Visions of Utopia’ dives straight into hallucinatory sci-fi territory, with its Radioactivity-esque modal keys accompanying Suzanne’s distant lyrics – making for a brave and oddball departure from the more rhythmic vigour from the rest of the album. This only works as an aphrodisiac before closer ‘Le Voyage’ goes drum machine daft with the catchiest chant of ‘Tokyo, Berlin, Chicago…’, just to send you on your merry way. Apéro is six tracks of musical ‘ludes and a fine intro to one of the Glasgow’s best kept secrets.

Apéro will now be released on Mon 3 Nov.

HAPPY MEALS: Le Voyage (from Apéro LP)

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