Patrolled By Radar: Be Happy | Review

Article Contributed by jbaker | Published on Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The band formerly known as 50 Cent Haircut who, after some confusion with a particular rapper sharing two-thirds of the same name, decided a change would be beneficial, now enter the world and hopefully its consciousness as Patrolled By Radar, and bring with them a fantastically sublime new album Be Happy.

Steeped in a multitude of genres, all of which sound unique and unmatched, and layered with unwavering grace, Be Happy is a rare album that not only makes the listener feel good about what is transpiring in their ears but also tells an important and hopeful tale about life, love and happiness in these unrelentingly confusing times.

Comprised of five first-rate musicians Jay Souza, Bryan Coulter, Bryan Stone, Bosco Sheff and Ben Johnsen, Patrolled By Radar is a band surely making a name for them self by being honest in their rhythms and passionate in their words.

Be Happy begins with “Widow Next Door”, a fun and jaunty piece of work detailing the protagonist’s burgeoning attraction to, yes, the widow next door. It is fun, loose material with a great beat that is impossible not to bounce your head or tap your foot to, and backed by dazzling backup vocalists as inspired as the musicians.

The whole album pays tribute to each member’s respective skills and also the quintet’s almost inherent ability to play as a cohesive unit. But it is Jay Souza’s raspy and worn in voice that carries throughout the whole journey. His is a soul ridden display of harmonic honesty not just spouting empty words, but laying out passages of a well lived life.

Each track is well versed in instrumentation, bringing in various tools such as harmonicas, pedal steel guitars, heavy almost cowboy picking acoustic guitars and even a full-swinging brass band. From this, and more, it is apparent these are old souls supplied with grit and brimming with wisdom.

“Coat of Disappointment”, the fifth track on this unrelentingly quality album, is extremely well put together and powerful in its mask of simplicity.

What is most striking about Be Happy, as a whole, is its truth. There is no other way to put these songs together and no other way to play them, so it leaves the listener without the recent phenomenon of questioning the music and seeking alternatives in a similar vein. It simply is. And that is as rare as it is beautiful.

The title track, “Be Happy”, contains lyrics and themes that flow through the whole album, a self contained ode to it all.

If there was ever a song whose title provides the listener the same feeling after which the track in named, it is “Walking”. The thumping bass line of footsteps provides the ground floor and the light and easy, but nevertheless prevalent electric guitars are the swinging legs landing succinctly and solidly on the aforementioned grounding the bass provides.

“New Fight Song”, a balls out rock-n-roll song is a perfect upbeat and grooving ending to this already stellar fare. It transitions half way through to a bluesy breakdown, like wandering through the Old West then suddenly transporting you back to the bustling, rocking streets of now, and it is here we make our stay and come to the realization that an album like this is rare and should be relished in all its glory.