The Austin-based duo of Scott Raulie and Jonathan Richerson make music as Millennium Resorts. Claiming influences that include shoegaze/drampop, new wave synth and the sonic aesthetics of Pink Floyd, the duo has an album, In the Key of David, scheduled for release early next tear. But for now, there’s “Happiness,” a teaser single released in two versions: an album version running nearly eight minutes, and a “radio edit” clocking in under five.
On first listen, it’s the new wave/synth qualities that immediately make themselves known. Intentionally robotic percussion establishes the beat, and an impressive array of synth textures – analog in nature if not in technology – provide a lush dreamscape. Soaring electric guitar eventually enters the mix, providing a touchstone for the previously-mentioned Floydian proclivities. Toward the end of the album version, the sonic landscape shifts to a brief outro that’s something more ambient and placid, not miles away from the kind of music found on Pink Floyd’s The Endless River.
But listening to the fruit of the edit choices that yield the radio edit, it’s those ‘80s New Orderish characteristics that seem to form the core of what “Happiness” is about musically. It’s a fool’s errand to extrapolate the nature of an unheard album based on a listen to a lead track, but from what I can gather, there’s a vaguely conceptual bent to the material overall, and “Happiness” likely fits into the larger work as a mid-story piece. That’s merely conjecture, of course; interested parties will have ot wait until 2024 to know for sure.
As much as I appreciate and enjoy extended musical pieces, here I will give the nod (of only by a hair’s breadth) to the single edit of “Happiness”; it’s a model of relative economy that displays the best qualities of the larger song in a slightly more compact setting.