Happy website

"Sincerely, Without Wax"
(doubleplusgood; 2004)

Rockpile #108

by Allan Kemler

Rhythm and dynamics. That's the name of the game. forget about trying to sing us a song, words are played out and we're not listening anyway. It's all about the mood-an heaven knows you don't need words for that. Hailing from Oshkosh, WI, Happy is a trio who understands how to employ this age-old, mathwise, tension-and-release program, and to sparkling effect. Less precise than Don Caballero, more earthy than Shellac, and fronted by former H.Chinaski singer-guitarist, Andrew Johnson, Happy plays fast and loose with a number of styles, occasionally even flirting with Karate's feckless, boho jazziness. Wherever Happy goes, though, Kyle Straveler's rattly bass and Tim Snow's metronomic drums pin every note to the mat with lean muscular confidence.

Punk Planet #63 Oct/Nov 2004

High-energy poppy rock from Oshkosh, WI, featuring former H.Chinaski singer/guitarist Andrew Johnson. Although the 13 tracks on Sincerely waver between driving intensity and midtempo mellowness, overall, this is a nice offering.

Screaming Bloody Mess
by Tim Scott

Despite the unfortunate name, Happy brings to mind the golden day of US college/indie rock. Jangley melody, strained vocals and off beat time signatures, a messy but fun labour of love about ripped hearts and band t-shirts. You know Superchunk, Archers of Loaf, Built to Spill and the rest. Led by Andrew Johnson (formerly of the band H. Chianski), the band mix up high-energy Dismemberment Plan grooves and more midtempo mellowness.

Screaming Bloody Mess

by Rev. Keith A. Gordon.

At first blush, Happy sounds like anything plus, featuring a dense, discordant sound replete with angular guitar riffs and sideways rhythms. They remind me a lot of some of the cool mid-80's bands that were on labels like SST and Touch & Go, bands taking punk and hardcore into new directions. Fronted by former H.Chinaski singer/songwriter/guitarist Andrew Johnson, this Wisconsin trio treads a fine line between melody and madness. Johnson's confessional lyrics are often delivered in an off-kilter scream or buried deep in the mix. Bassist Kyle Straveler is an inventive instrumentalist, matching Johnson's manic fretwork with some subtle and unexpected bass lines, while drummer Tim Snow is often all but lost beneath the din. The three members of Happy have some impressive chops, and the songs pursue a singular vision, but Sincerely, Without Wax could have benefited greatly from the firm hand of an experienced producer. Happy is a band to keep an eye on, however, one of the more encouraging underground artists to emerge in a while.

Reglar Wiglar
by Irresistible Frank

Happy was formed by ex-H. Chinaski guitarist/singer Andrew Johnson, and if I remember that band correctly, continues in that same vein of controlled spasmic rock that falls somewhere close to punk, math rock, and emo without ever falling close enough to be captured by that comparison. From Oshkosh, b'gosh.

Maximum Ink
by J-Man

The three-piece rock band from Wisconsin have released “Sincerely Without Wax,” their debut album that will kick you in the teeth and then apologize. Andrew Johnson, lead vocals, manipulates his vocal chords in an unmistakably unique way; he combines a rabid scream with a sullen melody. Kyle Straveler adds a heavy lead bass to make the three piece sound full and rich with low end. Providing the attack from behind the kit is none other than Timothy Snow. This band is fucking loud and great in concert! Fresh off their tour around the Midwest and East Coast Happy is ready to take on the world.


Interesting work, especially for only being one guitarist. A few standout tracks are the Good Book, In Art, and the Jaw Box influenced Easier. These guys are mathy at times but tend to lean a little bit more towards the radio friendly side. I am not saying this as a bad thing; they manage to create some interesting guitar work without losing the sense of melody and rhythm.

by Justin Stewart

The Dismemberment Plan broke up in early 2003, but the influence of their arch, refreshing post-hardcore lives on in bands like Oshkosh, Wisconsin's Happy. On their debut disc, Happy are miraculously able to overcome the handicap of a truly unfortunate band name. Now get ready for a shocker -- their music isn't even all that happy! Like giant dudes nicknamed "Tiny", Happy dash expectations with a neurotic blend of zigzagging changes, off-kilter time signatures and lyrics touching on nostalgia and singer Andrew Johnson's pent-up emotional tics. Formerly of the band H. Chinaski, Johnson and his new mates transmogrify the old group's Slint-isms using Chisel-like spasticity. You can claw your skin to "The Hook"'s fidgety rhythms, or have a nicotine fit to the bizarrely funky, distortion-free jangle of "Webster's Last Stand". The game rhythm section will lead the way; Kyle Straveler's revved-up, finessed bass work on "Cats" dazzles, and on "Another D Down", his four-string spews nasty Jesus Lizard grime. Johnson might sound a lot like the D-Plan's Travis Morrison (especially at the latter's most strained moments), but he's a lesser lyricist. His up-front yelping of borderline-emo sentiments sandblasts the edges off of songs like "She was Pretty" and "Dogs of the Ididarod". On "Simple Procedures", he's upstaged by guest vocalist Eric Van Thiel, who sounds much like Silkworm's Tim Midgett. Nevertheless, Sincerely, Without Wax provides enough inventiveness and musical jolts to warrant a few listens. The D-Plan's recently extinguished torch is in good hands.

by Jeff Marsh

I discovered the Oshkosh, Wisc. band H. Chinaski just after the band broke up, but the one full-length release and the stellar EP the band left behind have been consistent favorites. So I was extremely excited to hear that the unique talents of H. Chinaski frontman Andrew Johnson would be carried over to this new trio, Happy. (And surely someone, somewhere would have...more

By Jason Thompson

Bands like Oshkosh, Wisconsin's Happy are way past their due date. I hear this music with its annoying adenoidal lead vocalist Andrew Johnson and I can only look to the sky and ask, "Why?" Same old tight/tense chordal structures that other bands from The K Word to Check Engine have used and buried into the ground. Same old emo-friendly dopey lyrics with just enough art class abstraction to keep them from being labeled emo, even though that's what they really are. Yes, Happy is emo as emo can be minus the warm fuzzies. Anyone who tells you differently is lying. Chances are you probably won't ever be hearing this band, anyway, and the bottom line is that that's probably a good thing. If you're at all familiar with this type of minimalistic mush, then you've heard it all before.