I’ll get it right out there: Livan is made and broken by its namesake frontman. Happy Returns’ collection of otherwise toothless and self-absorbed rock songs are given character solely by their creator, a very British (but Greek) auteur who seems as concerned with his image (a la Marilyn Manson—a fitting comparison in more ways than one) as he is with his music.
And he does it in several ways. His vocals are an acquired taste, being often nasal to the point of evoking Billy Corgan but with the histrionic quality of the aforementioned Manson, and if you’ve any interest in that kind of music, Livan might be worth looking into.
But at the same time, the self-parodic new wave qualities that pop up on Happy Returns on songs such as “When The Lights Go Down” find apotheosis in the completely unnecessary cover of Tears For Fears’ “Shout,” and the strongest song, opener “King Of The World,” isn’t memorable enough to assuage the sting of the chorus of “Where I Bleed.”