Refer to previous recommendations for my usual anti-categorization rhetoric, it applies very much to Fridge. Organic, electronic, live, studio, complex, straightforward, this band is all over the map, to my great pleasure. I'm not sure how it came about that I bought Happiness, but I certainly did and it and its friends have been constant companions for years now.
When you begin the album, you are greeted with a startling blast of melodica, horns, maracas, and something made of wood. It's loud, beautiful, and sort of heavy. It fades into hissing and atmosphere and leads into the album's longest track, "Drum Machines + Glockenspiels" (almost all of the tracks are named strictly after their main instruments), which starts out calm but steadily grows and never stops growing until there are so many glocks, drums, guitars, recorders, synths, and miscellaneous instruments that you might feel a little overwhelmed - although the slow trickle of additions makes it quite palatable. Next are two more calm tracks, "Cutup Piano + Xylophone," a lilting, popping mashup of harmonies, and the sublime "Tone guitar + drum noise," which usually makes me stop what I am doing and close my eyes to feel the music flow around me. Harmonica and guitar circle one another over a hypnotizing drone and skittering, quietly chaotic drum cuttings. It could be the soundtrack to nirvana. "Five Four Child Voice" is another long one, and a work of uncompromising exactitude on Fridge's part as every instrument is played perfectly and beautifully, strummed guitars and a moseying bass line are joined by electrics, glocks, prayer bowls, children's voices, and smart drumming to create the feel-good track of the album. If the previous track was the soundtrack to nirvana, this is the soundtrack to a golden summer and everything you did throughout, shortened to a shockingly enjoyable nine minutes.
I know what you're thinking at this point, dear reader: "This guy is completely whipped. He's probably trying to sleep with a girl in the band." No, precious, there are skippables. "Sample + Clicks" and "Drums Bass Sonics + Edit" are less interesting than they sound, and while they have some nice moments, they don't really fit with the sparkling, harmonious noodling that makes up the rest of the album. "Harmonics" is fun, a great-sounding little experiment made of, yes, harmonics mostly, which you don't often hear exclusively. The closer, "Long Singing," is pleasant but not the epic you're hoping for, more like a credits-roll type of fade out music, an easy touchdown after a long flight.
I can't recommend "Happiness" to everyone, though my love for it is painfully obvious, as not many will have the attention span for the longer tracks (for shame), or will be turned off by the experimental tracks, the fact that its all instrumental, or some other problem which for me is a bonus. At the very least give "Five Four Child Voice" a listen, and if you like it please do consider the rest of the album. It's the longest track I have ever, or probably will ever, host on Robosexual, so it's got to be good, right? Right?