Of Mice & Men
The Mo Club, Southampton, UK - 16/4
Written by: PP on 30/01/2011 09:14:11
It's so easy to tell a great band from an average one. In Joyce Manor's case, all it takes is one listen to recognize something vibrant and exuberant about their self-titled debut, a buzzing, exciting vibe that spills over from the very first song "Orange Julius". The band waste no time in unnecessary introductions, instead dropping you into what basically feels like the middle of a chorus in song one, where you'll immediately notice the urgency and immediacy that drives their sound, most audible in the loosely played, noisy guitars that are basically pop punk but not in the modern sense of the word.
No, you have to go all the way back to the first Alkaline Trio record "Goddamnit" to hear as raw and honest guitar tone as the one used throughout the record. The production is excellent for this purpose as it avoids glossy sugar-coating altogether, leaving the guitars sharp and rough, so they are able to carry that vibrating tone that makes the band sound so lively on record. It also gives the record a garage flavor, most notably in the slight distortion in the voice of their vocalist, but this is part of their charm, a big reason why the angst-filled vocals result in shout/scream-alongs in the vein of The Menzingers on almost every song. It almost feels like you're able to touch the lyrics because they are sung in such a passionate, emotionally charged manner.
There's a feeling of looseness attached to the album that gives each instrument enough space to participate in the messy and noisy soundscape, where emotional melody meets a buzzing vibe where the listener feels the excitement from the band as they pour their hearts into the sound. That the songs are catchy and sing-alongable while keeping their feet on the ground is only a plus, and certainly one of the reasons why Joyce Manor have been garnering critical acclaim from all the major magazines as of late.
Download: Orange Julius, Beach Community, Constant Headache
For the fans of: early Alkaline Trio, The Menzingers, old Against Me!, early Weezer
Release date 11.01.2011