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JFH Music Review

Wilder Woods, Wilder Woods

Hoi Polloi
Happy Ever After

Artist Info: Discography
Album length: 11 tracks: 44 minutes, 0 seconds
Street Date: 1995


Happy Ever After, the latter offering from this New Zealand band is a noisy collage with stellar female vocals. Although better produced, yet still not as good as the album previous to it, this alt-pop release from Hoi Polloi provides much distortion for fans of the sound. I like that the lead guitar maintains that sound throughout, and that the lead vocals are not always such, but I do wish the bass was less so at times, especially when following with a more funky backdrop.

"Tiptoe" and "Thaw" exemplify the unique range of singer Jenny Gullen. Songs like "Lucy" display the guitar talents of her husband. "Big Fat Happy Day" also presents the band with another cheery hit. "Sun, Moon, and Stars" really differs, almost providing a bluesy version of the group at that time. And finally, "Love Has Comes" concludes the album as a decent ballad, akin to "Take Me Home" from Spin Me.

These songs are quite experimental, causing Happy Ever After to not be as cohesive as the band's previous two releases. The vocals run the gamut emotionally, while the instrumentation provides a fuzzy backdrop throughout. There are just some occasions where I wish the basslines to have been engineered differently, not brought so forward in the recording mix. Hoi Polloi often sounds like a mash-up of Morella's Forest and Paramore. I applaud the creativity here and the vocalist's raspy positivity, even though the lyrics aren't explicitly evangelical.

JFH Reader Review: Review date: 4/17/23, written by Derek Lehman for

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JFH Staff's Additional 2 Cents

    I remember picking up Hoi Polloi's Happy Ever After in 1995, after seeing the band open for Dakoda Motor Co. and really liking their set. To this day, Happy Ever After remains a solid alt-rock, grunge-flavored record that features Jenny Gullen's impressive vocals driving 11 moody and memorable tracks. This is mid-90's rock at some of its finest. A criminally underrated record that is hard to find today (and doesn't appear to be available digitally), Happy Ever After may have been Hoi Polloi's swan song, but its legacy has stood the test of time. Highlights include "Tiptoe," "Lucy," "Thaw," "Smile," "Sun, Moon and Stars," and the totally killer "Boat." - 4/23/23 John DiBiase



. Record Label: Via Records
. Album length: 11 tracks: 44 minutes, 0 seconds
. Street Date: 1995
. Buy It: (CD / Cassette)

  1. Tiptoe (2:33)
  2. Thaw (3:23)
  3. Smile (5:22)
  4. So Far Away (3:11)
  5. Pity Baby (4:26)
  6. Lucy (4:03)
  7. Big Fat Happy Day (2:55)
  8. Sun, Moon and Stars (5:03)
  9. Falling Down (5:23)
  10. Boat (3:34)
  11. Love Has Come (4:11)


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