Excerpt: “A concept album of sorts from the Seattle band with a madly ambitious premise, too good not to quote from the press blurb. The plot concerns a “secret agent, his former mentor and current arch-nemesis, and a nefarious prince’s plan to destroy Earth during the grand opening of the universe’s only outer space casino complex” (!). This would be good enough in itself but happily the musical chops match the scale of the ambition, with elements of surf-rock and post-punk, a dollop of film soundtracks, as well as a hint of decadent and very welcome lounge. You may already have had the great pleasure of hearing first single The bat watusi, a wonderful Dick Dale-style bassline strapped onto a louche vocal with ray-gun synths in pursuit. A shimmering suite of tunes overall, which eschew standard verse-chorus structures but still retain a firm grasp of pop dynamics (for example, the delirious crescendo of From the west, the glorious wall of sound of the title track, the John Barry-like uplift of Sleep in fame). And at the centre, Blake Madden’s sonorous croon. Highly recommended.”

Underground of Happiness