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Self Improvement?

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Album Review

Cranking out heavily caffeinated pop tunes with a super-sized chaser of smirk and attitude, the Happiness Factor sound as if they're firmly in touch with their inner punk on their debut album, Self-Improvement? Fronted by tunesmith Salim Nourallah, the Happiness Factor are hooky as all get-out on these tunes, with a melodic sense that suggests the Cavedogs or the Flashing Lights after a can or two of Red Bull, but Nourallah's often witty, sometimes caustic lyrics and Paul Averitt's crunchy guitar figures throw a healthy dose of rock & roll into the mix that cuts through any treacle like a knife through Cheez Whiz. While Rip Rowan's by-the-numbers production doesn't do much for the band's energy, the songs are good and the players know how to bring 'em across, especially on "Gonna Be a Rockstar," "I Want You But I Don't," and the suitably cynical closer, "Everything's a Lie," while "Hold" gives Nourallah a chance to show he can convincingly make with the mushy stuff, too. Any band with a song like "Rock 'n Roll Pimp" would seemingly be playing Judas by reaching for the Big Time, but Self-Improvement? suggests that there might be room there for the Happiness Factor, assuming they don't run out of coffee (or whatever their stimulant of choice might be) along the way.

Biography

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Playing hard-edged power pop with the energy and bitter wit of such classic new wave acts as Elvis Costello, the Jam, and the Damned (but with a 21st century sense of speed and precision), the Happiness Factor are primarily the brainchild of Salim Nourallah, the pop-obsessive singer/songwriter...
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Self Improvement?, Happiness Factor
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