Sunday, 16 June 2013

Album Review:No Joy - Wait to Pleasure

(Mexican Summer 2013)

   Wait to Pleasure, the second album from Montreal based No Joy, sees the band continuing to look back for their sound, clearly informed by dark, noisy and ethereal alternative rock from the 80s and early 90’s. They’re not the first band to look back at that period of music, but display an appreciation and willingness to move that sound forward, similarly to their Mexican Summer labelmates Tamaryn, that many acts fail to achieve. The Four-piece band is centred on Jasmine White-Glutz and Laura Lloyd, who both share vocal and guitar duties, and it’s their mix of soft, interweaving vocals and distortion-soaked guitars that form the core of their sound.
   The opener E has sturdy 6/4 rhythm and a distorted bass that sit at the centre of the track under twin vocals twist in and out of each other as layers of guitar build up around them until the track almost falls apart beneath the noise. The song seems destined to make eardrums ring in a live setting, recalling the rougher end of Isn’t Anything-era MBV, whilst the next track Hare Tarot Lies starts with dense jangling guitars and a drifting vocal hook, before erupting into the kind of low, fuzz pedal aided guitar riff that could have come straight out of the early grunge scene.
   The album delivers some immersive dream pop on tracks such as Slug Night, Lunar Phobia and Wrack Attack, which sees the usually hushed vocals brought forward in the mix, though still submerged in so much reverb amongst other effects that they flow in and out like a slow tide. Blue Neck Riviera takes a different approach to the other tracks, starting with simple processed drum loop, adding accompanying percussion, squeezed through delay, and an icy, simple guitar line. The vocals hang around, semi-intelligible after being warped by distortion, before the song kicks into double time, imbuing the track with a jolt of energy that makes you assume No Joy don’t spend too much time looking down at their shoes.
   No Joy finish the album with Uhy Youi Yoi, a track that could have come off Slowdive’s Souvlaki, with its hushed vocals and clean guitars displaying the somewhat cold, but intimate atmosphere similar to that of the classic shoegaze record. It epitomises the bands approach, where they display great care to evoke the sounds of that era but never stray into obvious imitation. Wait to Pleasure sees No Joy finding their own space ahead of the latest wave of bands taking cues from 80’s and early 90’s alternative rock, without sounding like a carbon copy.

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