Happiness Hours was produced, engineered, and mixed by John Agnello. The twelve tracks that eventually found a home on the album show a band in full control of their powers. Each song presents its own little narrative microcosm and contained universe, all contributing to a record that, as vocalist/guitarist Steve Ciolek describes it, “feels like a potential collection of singles, every one of them a pop song, every one of them meant to make you feel good.” For The Sidekicks, despite their storied pop-punk past, the band’s main hope is that people can always expect something new, songs filled not just with loud guitars, but also things like trumpets, pianos, flugelhorns, and the occasional tambourine.
Formed in Cleveland in 2006, The Sidekicks made their debut with 2007’s So Long, Soggy Dog and followed the album with 2009’s similarly punk-influenced Weight of Air. The band embodied a more melodic sound with 2012’s Awkward Breeds, and fully showcased their tightly honed pop sensibilities on Runners in the Nerved World. Produced by Phil Ek (The Black Angels, The Walkmen), <>Runners in the Nerved World drew praise from the likes of Pitchfork (who noted that the album “hearkens back to the widescreen indie rock of Built to Spill, the Shins, and Band of Horses”).