Chapel Hill, NC band Happy Abandon's brand of genre bending art music with deep-rooted pop sensibilities is more finely honed than ever before on their debut long player Facepaint. Working with Jason Merritt acting as co-producer, Jamie Candiloro working as mixing engineer and frequent collaborator Alex Thompson handling keyboards and string arrangements, Happy Abandon captured at once their high flair, their foreboding sensibility and their warmth in a record that is at-once propulsive yet patient, dark and distant while warm and engaging.
Lead singer, guitarist and songwriter Peter Vance's voice, a tinny yet warm throat-yell which bears an eerie resemblance to Jeff Buckley, sits astride Happy Abandon's intensely emotional music, which owes as much to the members' experience in theater, marching bands and orchestras as it does to their myriad musical influences such as Sufjan Stevens, Andrew Bird and The National.
While full of songs about loss, Vance is quick to point out that Facepaint is not a breakup album. Rather, if the album were to have a subject, it would be the relationship a person has to loss and loneliness, which can manifest itself through breakups, homelessness, familial abandonment, and death. These relationships provide the outline for Facepaint, from the emotions they conjure to the settings in which they exist and the Facepaint we all hide behind to make those heartbreaks a little more palatable.