More than one member of the band The Sunglasses sports a fading, blue-green, prison-style tattoo of the letters F.I.D. Drummer Ray Fleming wears it on his arm, while the others don them on less visible parts of their bodies. When asked about it, they give each other a shifty look before Fleming sheepishly offers, “It stands for ‘Fuck It Dude.’” While that isn’t necessarily the Atlanta-based band’s philosophy, it’s a credo that drives the brash and arty post-hardcore rhythms of its newly released debut album Bad Happy (Trans Ruin/Dark Wolf Records).
It isn’t easy to describe the sound that Fleming, along with drummer Daniel Deckebach, bass player Zach Rivers and vocalist Josh Lyner have concocted. Songs such as “100 Names,” “Chut Brittany” and “Smoke It” swing wildly between noise rock, grunge and drug-damaged pop, with math rock leanings. “I usually try to come up with the stupidest riff I can think of and morph it into a nasty pop song,” Deckebach explains. By stupid, he means unorthodox. “I can’t really shred on guitar so I’ll think, what sounds really ridiculous and doesn’t make sense with these weird-sounding chords, but then have it tie the whole song together.”
With Bad Happy the band barrels through 11 songs that can’t quite be described as frenetic but carry a visceral purge where obtuse sounds and doom-laiden rhythms collide. Lyner’s stream-of-consciousness rants bleed into the distortion, sanding off any sense of meaning or discernible narrative.
“When we’re talking about our songs, words like 'aggressive' and 'surf' always come up,” offers Deckebach. The surf reference is less a matter of sound than a state of mind as the group takes more inspiration from Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High than the reverb and kerrrang of surf rock saints, the Ventures.
“It’s definitely more of a frame of mind for us,” Fleming adds. “When I think about surf rock I think about relaxed sounds, chillin’ out and smokin’.”