We locals find it funny to call Spells the debut of Happy Hollows. The band has been rocking Los Angeles for a couple years now, so this is hardly an introduction. Instead, Spells serves up a whopping mouthful. Sarah Negahdari rips her guitar open like a bag of candy, smothering herself in gooey sticky delirium. She might be the wild woman, but Charles Mahoney (bass) and Chris Hernandez (drums) absolutely get it. While their playing might not include crashing into any free-standing objects at their perimeter, these guys force out the rhythm straight and hard—they’re the solid foundation upon which lead guitar scrapes its nails. Spells opens fast with “Faces.” The bass is clean, the drums tight, the guitar glows ecstatically, and the words begin with a loose theme of triumph against opposition. The distorted yowling on “Silver” provides lubrication to slip past the world’s evils. The boys provide ghostly howling in the background while a mumbling guitar line leans on a creaking door. “Monster Room” takes out all the toys in the playroom and pounds ‘em, undressing its Barbies and melting green army men into amorphous blobs. Negahdari’s voice sounds extra cute on “Turtle and Hare,” a song with a nice brooding shadow. Violinist Charlene Huang from Leslie and the Badgers accompanies Fiddler On The Roof-like. Happy Hollows gets serious. We are wet in the snow, in the flood, in the mud, seeking happiness despite the natural disasters that appear at every step. Thanks for this song. It’s hardcore and comforting when you feel sad. “The Stein” informs us that the Happy Hollows speak multiple languages. “A Man, A Plan, A Canal” has Mahoney running riddles on the mic. His voice resembles Gordon Gano of Violent Femmes, and the train bell pulls us right under his command. “Why don’t we go an build a canal?” Sure. Moats are for lazy princesses, anyway.