Valby Hallen, Copenhagen, DEN - 26/4
Written by: PP on 05/01/2017 22:23:49
Joyce Manor keep churning out records at a rapid pace and it doesn't look like they're stopping anytime soon. "Cody" is their fourth album in six years, and one where they begin to take a few chances as songwriters rather than explicitly relying on the charming off-tune chaos pop punk that its fantastic predecessor "Never Hungover Again" and their debut album "Joyce Manor" were characterized by. The songs have become much more structured, meaning a lot of that chaos is now absent, but they compensate with more angst and emotional charge in their expression than has previously been the case. They're clearly going in the same direction as The Menzingers and Tigers Jaw, pooling together influence from both to arrive somewhere halfway between the two. Raw emotions, meet anthems.
Tigers Jaw fans, in particular, will be drawn to the melancholic croons that are lush in emotive calls - "Eighteen" and "Last You Heard Of Me" are great examples - whereas other songs echo Menzingers style sentiment with the kind of wailed nostalgia those guys are known for. The early Alkaline Trio vibe from previous albums is mostly gone (although "Make Me Dumb" makes the opposite case), but the garage rock-flavored pop punk spirit is still the prevailing element sound wise throughout "Cody". The melodies are unpolished and raw, resulting in a rougher style that despite its emotive nature is distinctly punk rock in its heart and soul.
That said, the record is inherently slower than Joyce Manor in the past. "Over Before It Began", for instance, is a loud ballad, and there's even an acoustic song on the record. "Reversing Machine" is likewise slower in tempo, but vocalist Barry Johnson's voice nearly breaks into screams during the verses, adding a ton of character and turning the song around almost on his own.
Initially, the heavy focus on melancholy, nostalgia, and emotive croons can be a bit much. The record comes across as whiny and missing some of the vibrant chaos that made this band popular in the first place. But because of the stylistic adjustment and the additional depth of the songs, it also means it's a grower. It took more than its fair share of chances to open up for yours truly, and while the buzz and fuzz of "Never Hungover Again" is sorely missed, "Cody" may end up being their best record yet over time with songs like "Stairs" and the appropriately titled "This Song Is A Mess But So Am I", which resembles the most emotive songs written by the No Use For A Name if they were merged with Tigers Jaw's raw emotion.
Download: Fake I.D, Eighteen, Reversing Machine, Stairs, This Song Is A Mess But So Am I
For the fans of: Jeff Rosenstock, Tigers Jaw, The Menzingers, (old) Alkaline Trio
Release date 07.10.2016