On its debut recording, Memoirs From..., the Sad Star Café suggested that it had the chops to become a good guitar-rock band; the talent was there -- it was obvious in singer Mark Sundermeier's vocals and the dexterous playing of guitarist Kirk Schneider. The songs just hadn't quite come together as a worthy showcase of their skills. Fortunately, the followup, Happy?, which will see its unofficial release on Friday, March 30, at Herman's Hideaway with Rubber Planet and Taint, is packed with undeniable, radio-ready gems that indicate the Sad Star Café has hit its stride. From the bluesy, Black Crowes-esque balladry of "A Woman Out There" to the almost punkishly paced "Barfly," it's a diverse, sophisticated effort, one that should give fans of breezy, mainstream rock plenty to be happy about.
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