To celebrate Pride, we’ll be highlighting a different Irish artist from the LGBTQIA+ community each day in June as part of our Pride Profiles series.
By Clare Martin
Listen If You Like
Girl Band, Suburban Lawns, Pixies
Who They Are
Art-punk trio Pretty Happy are gloriously gritty and unconventional — they have a song called “Mr Crabs,” for fuck’s sake! Made up of siblings Abbey Blake (guitar) and Arann Blake (vocals, bass guitar) as well as drummer Andy Killian, the Cork three-piece have drawn praise for their eccentric vocal performances and frenetic, guitar-driven tunes. Listening to them feels like someone left the tap on at full blast, washing you away with noise and raw energy.
“Salami” is their most-played song on Spotify, charging you head-on with outlandish lyrics and off-kilter guitar. Their latest release, “Sea Sea Sea,” specifically delves into queer identity and the limitations of gender roles. Abbey’s delivery is steeped in sarcasm as she sings, “Your daughter wants to ride a motorcycle / You can’t handle it / She’s your only son.” Her activism also extends to life outside the band: Abbey founded the Angry Mom Collective, a Cork-based group dedicated to supporting women and queer people in the Irish music scene. With an EP due out later this year, we’ve plenty to look forward to from Pretty Happy.
Cork trio Pretty Happy are the kind of grimy art-punk weirdos we need more of in Ireland, bringing more unabashed catharsis than the polished, studio-ready types that have flooded the charts in recent years.
Their latest single “Sea Sea Sea” explores queer identity and the pigeonholing of gender, while also being a rollicking good time. Abbey Blake (guitar), Arann Blake (vocals, bass guitar) and Andy Killian (drums) channel influences like Pixies, Talking Heads, and Sonic Youth in their music, but their love of twisting language around brings us a bit closer home to the likes of Girl Band.
“Sea Sea Sea” is a headbanging tune, with drums thumping in your ears and seething, guitar-driven chao swirling around you. “Your daughter wants to ride a motorcycle / You can’t handle it / She’s your only son,” Abbey sings, a reminder of the narrow view of gender so many still live by in Ireland. By the end of the song, Pretty Happy are embroiled in a wild, mosh-pit ready jam that rebuffs any boxes they’ve been put in and makes us pine more than ever for a sweaty dance floor.
The three-piece are looking forward to releasing more music, since their EP is due out later this year. Abbey is a founder of Angry Mom Collective, which combats gender imbalance in the Irish art scene, and directed the yet-to-be-released video for “Sea Sea Sea.” The video ended up as a finalist for Pinewood Studio’s Lift Off First Time Film Makers Festival in UK.