You can't miss Andy Frasco. The electric-shock hair. The megawatt charisma. The golden lungs, magic fingers and party-starting songs. When this Californian bandleader takes to the stage with The U.N., you'll get an adrenalin-shot of pure escapism. New release Happy Bastards is aptly titled. Released on Ruf Records, this fourth full-length album shakes your feet and skewers your woes. Recorded at Lavish Studios and Brando's Paradise, CA, these twelve new songs are an industrial-strength blast of glass-half-full optimism, with the band's self-styled brand of party blues jostling with funk, soul, rock and roots.
There have been great studio albums before – try 2014's acclaimed third release Half A Man – but none have bottled the band's frantic live energy quite like Happy Bastards. "We got the record produced by Rick Parker (Lord Huron, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Scott Weiland Band) and John Avila from Oingo Boingo," says Andy. "Having those guys on your side was huge. They get that we are a live band, so they set all of us up live and we basically all played together until we all got it right. It was an amazing thing to make a record like how they made records in the '70s."
Co-written by the frontman, guitarist Shawn Eckels and Kenli Mattus, these all-original songs are emotionally resonant and rip-it-up exciting, driven by the chemistry between the core U.N. lineup of Ernie Chang (sax), Andee Avila (drums) and Supaman (bass). These songs are universal, too, with everyday worries fueling everyman anthems. There's the reckless excess and reggae breakdown of stompy highlight "Mature As Fuck." There's the funk-bass mob chant of "You're The Kind Of Crazy I Like." Both ends of the romantic process are documented by the soul-drenched breakup tune "Good Ride" and the acoustic-led alternative seduction ballad, "Let's Get Down To Business."
The modern world might be a cruel and uncaring place, but while Happy Bastards plays, everything seems momentarily brighter, better, drunker and more up for a dance. "I think it's my strongest piece of work to date," considers Andy. "I wanted to make an album that celebrates life. And I think we accomplished that..."