Happy Mail was not what fans of Japanese singer Haco were expecting as a follow-up to her years with After Dinner and her eponymous solo debut. Quite a different cup of tea (like most of her successive reincarnations), the group Hoahio pushed Japanese pop further into the territories of lo-fi and experimentation. The group's first album, released on Sachiko M's Amoebic imprint, is very hard to find and usually comes with a scary price tag, all that for barely over a half hour of music. Interested parties should first check out Hoahio's second album for Tzadik, which contains re-recorded versions of some of the Happy Mail compositions. That said, this first effort is still worth investigating, if only as a blueprint for the next album. Haco's voice appears on only a few tracks and is often buried in the mix, but the meeting between electric guitar and koto (a Japanese traditional string instrument) compensates. The title track is delightfully light, while "Less Than Lovers, More Than Friends" is the closest the female trio comes to the song format. "Morning Stars" emphasizes Michiyo Yagi's koto work and Sachiko M's sampling wizardry (one of her last sessions before drastically switching to sine waves). Despite its shortness, Happy Mail provides much food for thought and challenging entertainment.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture