It is easy to think that there is nowhere to go with popular music, nothing new to explore, that the only way forward is to try to conduct weird musical experiments in sonic laboratories and then try to convince the listening public that the sound chimera that comes lurching out is what they have been looking for. That’s why people like Thom Hell are so important. These are the people who understand that maybe it isn’t about trying to kick down the barricades; maybe it is just about painting interesting new designs on them.
And so on Happy Rabbit Thom wanders some familiar musical territories, works with familiar styles and just puts them together in ways that are both celebratory of the past but which open doors to bright new futures. Think of Picasso, he didn’t reinvent paint, he reinvented painting. And so as Thom picks reference points as natural as The Beatles, The Beach Boys, ELO and The Divine Comedy it is how he blends those sounds together which is the important thing.
This then becomes a whistle stop tour of pop music throughout the ages, you will find familiarity in the form but only in passing sweeps and occasional flashes of memory as Hell is too sure-footed to stray too far into pastiche or plunder but instead walks a fine line that is as fresh as it is reassuring.