Happy Diving – Big World
If you ever had a band in 1996, you probably tried to sound like Happy Diving. More than likely you failed miserably, but for the California based Happy Diving, the dream of instant chemistry and fuzzed out teen despondency paid off. Big World is a crushing throwback to the sludge-fuzz albums of two decades ago (and for most of you dear readers, yes that was two whole decades). If you’ve got thirty minutes to indulge in break-neck nostalgia, Big World has what you need.
The title track is probably the most indicative of what Happy Diving were going for: big, loud, indiscernible, and inviting. “Sad World” might as well be renamed “We Really Miss You Sweater Song Era Weezer”, and you know what? It’s a good thing. The absolutely demanding swell and crash of dry bass beats, filthy fuzz, washed out vocals, and treble compressed bass lines, make you want to watch Empire Records and flip off your boss. Follow it up with a triumphant road trip, and you’ve done this album a service. Of particular note is Matthew Berry’s vocal performance which is pitch perfect punk if ever such a thing existed.
All that said, this album was made in two days and it does show, though not nearly as much as it should. Level inconsistencies, particularly with regard to Mikey Rivera’s bass on about half of the album, plague the album. The final track “Explorer” does a solid job as an outro, but at five minutes it throws you out of the album’s temperament without enough pay-off. Luckily, any problems you may have with the album are quickly done away with. With the exception of “Explorer”, no song goes over three minutes, making even the most ardent singles junky able to sit through the entire album with little to no fatigue.
Prior to the release of Big World, Happy Diving had only released a self-titled EP that drew a decent amount of attention from local outlets. Big World, as far as debuts go, is a strong and eager lad, ready to tell his weekend boss to go to hell.