Quality: 3.25 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 3 out of 5
Happy End's second disc is pretty much their attempt the band's attempt to refine and crystalize their basic sound. It's a brighter and folkier affair than their debut, and I'd say that they seem more confident and both songwriting and playing. This doesn't necessarily mean that I think it's a better album however. Like the cover art you see, the music comes across as a lot more 'blah.'
What I really dug about the first disc was it's often almost tongue in cheek experimentation. It seemed to somehow mix the sound of a solid, but not completely inspired professional band and the sound of some very talented, but undisciplined kids making music in a garage. Here, the balance is more on the side of the competent, but less interesting band. In particular, the band seems to be exchanging their more psychedelic sounds for CCR rhythms and pedal steel channeled through the Eagles. Personally, I don't think that is a very exciting prospect, but maybe you do.
So this is a nice, solid album, even if not providing much variation; I guess you could say the same for a Poco album. You've heard "Kaze wo Atsumete" if you've seen the film "Lost In Translation," and it's most certainly responsible for Happy End's recent international visibility. If you dig that track, you'll find more to like here, although you should expect a stronger infusion of imported country rock on other tracks. Nothing really hits the peaks of the first album, but everything here is at a consistently "pretty good" level. I prefer tracks like "Haikara Hacuch" or "Taifuu," which shift to a more rock sound. Elsewhere, "Ashita Tenki ni Naare" is an extremely stange attempt at funk. Basically, you need to hear this album at least one, but my guess is that you'd play the first one a little more often.
Happy End - 1971 - Kazemachi Roman