The greatest thing about being in your twenties is that swagger and the sense of invincibility that the age range carries with, until that fateful moment comes. It is the time when you realise that your teenage years are almost over and you just don't want to let them go. This is exactly the narrative theme ongoing on Happy Bastards, the new album from the talented Andy Frasco & The U.N.
The American collective throw a full-throttle, incandescent goodbye party to their youth, infusing their music formula with an irresistible pastiche of 60's R&B, Soul, Reggae and Dance. Add to this winning recipe, lyrics sometimes funny, other times deep or even, occasionally, on high testosterone level to make you play this album over and over again. The sole goal of the record, though, is to make people want to dance and have a good time and, by jove, they fulfill that superbly.
Despite the album's light-hearted theme, Andy Frasco & The U.N. sound in fabulous form, even more so than their previous, critically-acclaimed third album Half A Man. There are the vibes of a whole Motown-style orchestra in tracks like When You're Lonely (Fill You Up), the East Coast R&B heart-warming sound of tunes like Make It Work, Blame It On The Pu**y and (Oh My My) Can't Get You Off My Mind or the cheeky folkish Rumba of Let's Get Down To Business.
The velvet soul of Good Ride, a song about breaking up, is perhaps the true highlight of an album that manages to incorporate brilliantly so many different musical elements. The band work together in perfect harmony, thanks to the strong and powerful voice of singer, Frasco and the great sonic amalgam of The U.N.
Happy Bastards is an uplifting record that aims to bring joy to everyday life. Even when they use language straight-to-your-face, Frasco and The U.N. manage to keep their style true to themselves, respecting their roots and still offering an incredibly dynamic and fresh sound. A highly entertaining record for any time and any place.
Giovanni "Gio" Pilato
Happy Bastards will be released on 25th March on Ruf Records