Happy Birthday are like a crash course in the past few years of indie rock. The fuzzy pop trio’s debut album fearlessly samples from recent torchbearers like Girls and Jay Reatard. And it works. “Girls FM”’s low-fi surf-rock verse gives way to a glittery, sugar-sweet chorus that could be Candy Land’s new national anthem. Other tracks, like “Cracked” and “Eyes Music,” pay homage to the chaotic, Day-Glo pop of early Flaming Lips, while “Maxine the Teenage Eskimo” takes a wry, nostalgic stab at sunny California rock. Even the down-tempo “Fun” is a pristine piece of wide-eyed nerd-rock you’ll find yourself returning to again and again. You could go on and on with musical reference points, but all you need to know about Happy Birthday is that they have two concerns: good times and good tunes. — Matt Whelihan
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