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REVIEW - Tom Tikka & The Missing Hubcaps - 'This Is My Happy Face' (Album)

Helsinki, Finland's ever prolific Tom Tikka returns with his third release in 2021 following his earlier EP 'That's What Winston Churchill Said' with The Missing Hubcaps, and the 'Life Of Grant' album recorded with Antti Autio in the excellent duo The Impersonators. As with these two releases, 'This Is My Happy Face' is another fabulous release with superb songwriting, great musicianship and excellent production touches, showing off Tom's strengths to maximum effect. It's a fine record!

Containing two singles that have graced the iTunes rock charts in 'Doormat', with it's fantastic choruses, short sharp guitar solo and tale of heartbreak and revenge, and the vibrant 'Hearts On Fire' with its Irish sounding undertow, the album also has a number of other moods and textures amongst its ten tracks. Best of all is the string and brass backed 'With Eyes Closed', a love song full of tender delights which contrasts brilliantly with some of the more melancholic sounding tracks - both musically and lyrically. The album opener 'Bullet In The Head' takes this melancholy to its extreme, complete with toiling bell intro, a funereal paced soundtrack and lyrics that are as dark as they can possibly get. Other novel production touches include the choral voices at the beginning of closer 'Garden Of Judas', which finishes the album on a 'bit of an epic' with its flourish of a guitar solo and the 'woozy' 'Space Cowboys'.

'This Is My Happy Face' is, like other Tom Tikka's releases, full of pop-rock gems - ten in this instance - that is full to the brim of songwriting craft and expertise. The consistent quality running through the three releases he has been involved with this year shows that the (ink) well is far from dry and there are more fantastic songs to come from Tom's pen. While we wait for the next release, 'This Is My Happy Face' should tide you over nicely!

'This Is My Happy Face' is currently available from Bandcamp - It should be out on all the other major digital sites shortly.

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