Duo of Danny Orlowski and Tommi Kelly are essentially the four-handed wrecking crew that spends much of their time at Market Hotel’s darkened stages surrounded by sweaty punks and ravers who collectively conjoin as a musical coalition. With vocalist Orlowski, I Don’t Know How To Be Happy has production being led by Kelly who is able to create a shadowed apparition of genre-bent synths and warps.
On the album’s opening, “Officer” is this sporadic and entirely schizophrenic appearance of production where snares clap in a seemingly random order against the head. Orlowski who is more of a harpy than anything human does not often give full verses but instead punches through this technologically advanced land of sound like a drill instructor.
They describe, “Officer officer, I got my hands in my pocket. You caught me, you caught me, you caught me, you caught me?” Really the production from Kelly is a drawing factor that gets the audience inside the door from the bombastic and frankly grimy style, but then to have Orlowski’s vocals over the mix; Deli Girls becomes haunting and harrowing at every turn.
The midpoint with “Peg” has the first moments of being able to vocalize along with Orlowski as they are in this frantic rage. They illustrate, “I never lost it, I just never fucking had it,” with these quick, higher-pitched moans to coincide within the verse. It catches the listener off guard and there is a real moment of attraction to Orlowski’s duality, but when the shrieks come into fruition, Deli Girls thrive.
The production from Kelly is this almost cheerful bounce of somewhat jungle synth runs that give allusions to Donkey Kong or some cartoonish video game soundtrack where the audience is safe but never fully cut off from the danger.
This danger comes in the form of the track “Shut Up” which immediately takes a nose dive straight into the ground with these clamoring 808s that snap together like shattered obsidian. Kelly can always create something intriguing to the mix and these samples from Quake III describe, “You have lost the lead” or “Excellent” as Orlowski attacks the microphone.
These small, but conquering additions of auditory samples create an experience when listening to I Don’t Know How To Be Happy and every revisit leaves something new to be discovered.
The final piece, “It Must Be So Nice” is the most approachable Deli Girls track off of I Don’t Know How To Be Happy. The production is less of a crushing skull attack and more of a layered destruction. Orlowski describes through a laughing delivery, “It must be so fucking nice” which transitions production from Kelly to jump into the crowd with these sampled cars whizzing by at Mach speed.
As the track collides with a brick wall, Orlowski and Kelly are these tandem slugfests that spends all 8 tracks on their toes with teeth gleaming in the fractured stage lights. I Don’t Know How To Be Happy is enthralling and captures these moments of teetering between a pit of lions and a den of thieves; no matter where you look, there is danger to be discovered and loved.