Happenstance is a band from Montreal consisting of Tamara Clark (vocals), Brian Gallagher (guitars/bass/keys/ vocals) and Nick Thompson (drums/vocals) that recently released Everything Changes. Apparently the band has been pegged as not having a specific style of genre but after spending some time with the album I felt they were clearly singing pop songs. Sure some songs have a tinge of country or rock but at its core these are pop songs meant for a broad demographic. They have all the ingredients one looks for searching for radio friendly tunes that could be consumed by the masses. That’s in no way to be meant as an insult but there is no denying the palatable melodies and familiar structure adheres to the elements of a pop song.
The album starts with the title track, which is one of the highlights. I was attracted to the guitar melodies and there is no denying that Clark has a great voice. She can belt out a tune. The song is just really well written and has a good amount of hooks. It’s also nostalgic and borders on feeling saccharine.
The next song “It’s a Brand New Day (Hey Hey) is so optimistic and inspirational it rivals something you would hear from U2 or a song you might hear at the end of a Disney movie for kids. If there is a thing as being too optimistic this is it. There aren’t any shades of gray just that everything is ok and things are going to get better. She sings, “Follow the stars / Follow your heart / Follow your dream / Right from the start / No regrets / No compromise / Time for you to spread your wings and fly / Hey, Hey, Hey.”
I preferred tracks like the Fleetwood Mac-esque “Crybaby” which has exceptional guitar work and another great vocal performance. The band pulls off country pop quite well as they showcase on “Not That Girl.” I will say the vocals were way too low in the mix on this track, especially during the verse. As the album progresses there are other highlights such as “Sleepwalking” and the upbeat “Younger Days.”
The melancholic and atmospheric “The Yearning” was another nice change of pace. The additional percussive elements were a nice addition. Perhaps the best song is “Sleepyhead” which touts very melodic music and vocal line.
At the end of the day this is music that is commercially viable, which veers towards the mainstream. It’s pop music that cross-pollinates with rock and country. I think most people will know relatively quickly if this will be an album that they will be into, so take a listen for yourself and decide.
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