It’s Tuesday at STACK HQ, and that means one of our esteemed staff members picks a ditty they’re listening to today and explains why they’re so fond of it. Today’s tune: The Hard Aches feat. Georgia Maq’s Happy, chosen by STACK’s Tim Lambert.
Singer/guitarist Ben David and drummer Alex Upton make up charismatic Adelaide duo The Hard Aches, who have built a reputation for wearing hearts on sleeves through their honest storytelling – David’s uncanny, relatable lyrics build a narrative that sees his songwriting compared to fellow dejected sad guy, New York punk Jeff Rosenstock.
Happy opens softly with David’s unashamedly Australian vocal and builds up throughout the first verse – which is mirrored by Upton’s subtle drums – until Camp Cope’s Georgia Maq enters and launches the song to another level. The pair trade lines beautifully, before meeting at the song’s fork in the road: “Cause I’ve been hoping like hell we can find our way out of this mess,” the pair sing together. The song flips a coin between dejection and hope – long distance relationships will do that to a person. David, who juggles his personal time between Adelaide and Melbourne, pines for his own happiness – which is a hopeful, silver lining in the self-deprecation he diarises: “I’ve been a manic depressive, these days I’m always obsessing about how I look in a mirror” he belts out over a crescendo of guitar and drums.
While David mentally struggles with identity, musically The Hard Aches have never sounded as true to themselves as they do here. Upton’s hearty drumming builds the foundation for their straight-shooting tale of anxiety, sorrow, devotion and optimism.