‘Happy Hour’ is the new album from Hollie Cook who is being hailed the queen of modern-day lovers rock with her sweet melodic lines and relaxed reggae rhythms. A product of confinement, ‘Happy Hour’ was co-produced by Cook and her General Roots band members during the imposed hiatus in their 8 year-long touring journey together. Although the echos of the reggae subgenre popular during the 70s in Britain can be heard throughout, Cook veers off in new directions on this EP. The title track is bittersweet with Cook’s tender yet assertive vocals caressing Ben Mckone’s tight drum and cymbal line, the lyrics of which tell the story of a woman sitting in a bar with a glass as empty as her heart. ‘Moving On’ and ‘Unkind Love’ both continue the theme of love which typically underpins lovers rock songs although here it has a refreshing new focus on healing and finding resolution.
‘Gold Girl’ is a unique yet seductive blend of reggae with symphonic strings, whose theatrical grandeur likens it to a Bond theme. The upbeat ’Move My Way’ with its irresistible horn ensemble and percussion is Cook’s biggest departure from the sound she is best affiliated with, bringing it closer to the likes of Soul II Soul. Mastered and cut at The Carvery Studio, this album is a beautiful expression of Cook’s varied moods and styles within her reggae revivalism. The scorcher of a summer we are experiencing here in the UK is now complete with the perfect soundtrack; ‘Happy Hour’, available here physically and digitally.