Making their way back into the new music spectrum, especially since their last release graced the world in 2016, Joyce Manor decided to come through with a bang. On the onset, this album grooves like no other, and it does so it such an ornate, musical mixed manner, which is what makes this album so successful, but that is only the beginning. As one listens to this record, it is heard that the band is pulling from several different musical genres to blur together a mixture of musical nuances, which comes together to create their characteristic sound. The band pulls genre influences from the pop punk scene as well as the pop, indie, and even the new wave musical genre, faintly. All of these genres together sound as if they wouldn’t marry well; however, the band gives the audience just enough of each genre to create a sound that resonates in such a unique light. The instrumentation throughout the album remains rather simple when moving from front to back. This allows the band to have room for genre exploration as the vocalist can reign in almost isolation for the bulk of the record. This gives the audience the opportunity to connect with the lyrical content that is being presented both emotionally and melodically. As the band rides through their album with minimal instrumentation, they are able to give a variety of tempos and feelings through the different tracks, for since there isn’t a whole lot going on, musically speaking, they are able to bend and twist their instrumental approaches to give a dynamic record when looking at the album track by track. Additionally, this album thrives on the complex nature of the vocalist’s characteristic vocal timbre; meaning, the sound of the vocalist’s voice is quite different than that of other vocalists in the scene, which helps the band to stick out when their music is first heard. Additionally, the overall aura that this record gives off is enhanced by the sound of the vocalist’s voice, for it simply fits in the mood that the band sets from the very beginning. Overall, I am giving this album a 4.5 out of 5 stars. From the first moment one listens to this album, it grabs their attention by its soothing nature. Also, the album invites people through its lack of complexity because the record is easy to listen to and becomes rather relatable through the process.
“Fighting Kangaroo”, “Think I’m Still in Love With You”, and “Wildflowers”
These tracks stick out when listening to this album as a whole, for when one falls into these selections, they are transported into a state of happiness or relaxation. This is because the band, within all of the songs on the album but especially these tracks, take the audience directly to a state where they can just enjoy the music that is being presented because it is that enticing. Additionally, these tracks capture the audience’s attention by their diverse nature, for these tracks keep the blood pumping when talking about the adding and subtracting of various musical genres. Within these musical moments, that band provides just enough of everything to give the audience something they’ve never heard before, and that’s what makes these tracks the main event for this record.
When first glancing at the album artwork, the audience sees the band, in an organized fashion, likely a tad intoxicated, and simply just living their best life, but of course they stopped to take a picture in the middle of it. This is a smart cover before diving into the music, for audience members will know exactly who the album is by, for the band is right there on the cover; however, the band isn’t just plastered there. Actually, the way that the band is represented on the cover fits with the aura that the band creates when listening to this record. A small note to add, this cover screams that of a pop punk artist just by the overall aesthetic of it, which helps the cover itself to be successful. When comparing the cover art to the music presented on the album, it can be said that the two are related but the album cover doesn’t necessarily enhance the overall drive of the record. To further, the music that is presented on the album takes the audience through a variety of emotions that one may feel when they are hanging out late at night with a bunch of their friends: just messing around and having a good ole time. However, the cover art being as it is doesn’t necessarily enhance the overall mood of the record; however, it does help put the pieces together that that may be the scenario one would be in when they are going through all of these events and emotions. Moreover, the album cover is strong for the band, but I don’t think it is the most inventive image either, which isn’t surprising because Joyce Manor drives on simplicity.
*”Million Dollars to Kill Me” was released on September 21, 2018 through Epitaph Records.