Star Ghost Dog – Happylove (1998)

Star Ghost Dog - Happylove
Star Ghost Dog

“I guess I’m gonna call in sick today.
I’m feeling way too healthy anyway.”

With those words we’re introduced to Star Ghost Dog. Happylove is choc-full of dark, moody indie rock with bounce. It sounds weird, but it’s true. Star Ghost Dog are masters of dispiriting songs with a spring in their step.

The somber nature of the lyrics can be startling at times. Songs with titles like “Heroin Face,” “Downer,” and “Tell Everyone We’re Dead” probably don’t need to have this mentioned. The title track declares “I love your happy love oh yes I love your happy love love love,” but I’m not buying it. This ain’t bubble gum pop.

Despite the bleakness of the subject matter, there’s warmth to these songs. They sound like pleasantly faded snapshots. They have energy. Guitars fizzle and jump. Boy girl vocal harmonies balance the often deadpan vocal delivery. You can bob your head to songs like “Kite” and “You’re Not There.” Heck, there’s even an indie disco song, “Plus De Vaches.”

On Happylove, Star Ghost Dog are still rough around the edges. By the time of their next record, The Great Indoors, the band will have polished and perfected their sound.

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