Smiley-face meets Happy-feet

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Happy Hardcore, like acid jazz, is really neither, but instead a kind of impossibly upbeat blend of rave’s rush and arpeggiated, feel-good, New Age sounds: heartfelt female vocals singing Tori Amos-writing-greeting card lyrics over crisp drum fills, Vangelis/Enya-like keyboards, video game synths and beats so squeaky clean they pound you silly without ever quite banging. You either love it or you hate it, and Toronto DJ Anabolic Frolic loves the stuff so much he’s been picked to compile and mix the third installment of the wildly popular Happy 2b Hardcore series.

Frolic gives the happy mass solid skills and anthems aplenty, throwing a few nice change-ups into his always-peaking mix. While not as dirty or varied as DJ Venom’s brand of happy-but-not-too-happy hardcore, Frolic sticks to the script, only slowing down from his moon-boot-marching 160+ bpm with DJ Slam’s jungle-friendly "Til We Meet Again" and Kingsize & Eternity’s "You Belong To Me." Even then, though, it’s only to take the vibe right back up with the tweak-and-shine majesty of Demo & Ad Man’s "Pleasure and Pain" and Brisk & Trixxy’s "Eyeopener."

Cynical ravers (or critics) need not apply, this is all about feeling good and getting up, rave music for Tae-Bo instructors. Even if Frolic and his HH tracks push a few cheesy buttons to get you there, H2bH Ch.3 does so with bright, pretty flying colors.

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