Review Summary: While it can be a little frustrating at times- Joie de Vivre is Joie de Vivre, and as “That’s the Hot Part” comes to a close it becomes clear that I actually don’t want it any other way.Summer Months
is a pretty picture waiting to be seen. To the oblivious passerby, it may be easy to mistake Joie de Vivre for a copycat of yesteryear. With their wailing and soft-loud dynamics and an American Football-esque aesthetic, it’s all too easy to dismiss the Summer Months
as just another throwaway emo band destined for failure. I’ll admit, it was even difficult for me to take them seriously as I tried listen after listen and found it too difficult to NOT compare them to look-alikes (Appleseed Cast, Mineral, Empire! Empire!, the list goes on and on). I kept yearning
for something unique, something special so that I could honestly say I enjoy Summer Months
. Could I cite the songwriting, or maybe the vocals? And then it came to me!- I stopped basing my judgements of Joie De Vivre off illustrious predecessors.
It’s hard to find a dull moment on Summer Months
- it all feels so well-constructed and necessary. The short length of six songs adds to this aspect, and we’re left with zero filler in this pretty love child of 90’s emo. Each song intensifies itself with each whine of the singer, each added guitar riff. Joie de Vivre doesn’t stray from this tried and true formula, which is exactly why it makes it so hard to distinguish between “Sundays” and “It’s Fiction.” Luckily, there’s “Handshakes” stuck in there, a 6:00 thrilling build-up that let’s me know Jioe de Vivre IS capable of a highlight. Altogether though, the record feels well-constructed. Even though the songs bleed together, it’s by no means a fatal wound.
Take Summer Months
for what it is, and you’re bound to find a likable record. The band is especially consistent, in both its manner and material. The guitars build sloooowwwllly
and deliberately, but that’s not to say that Joie de Vivre’s craft is worse off for it. Instead, the sound is defined by a certain clarity and clearness that lends itself to lull the listener into a concentrated state- hanging on every lyric (an enviable quality). The production adds to this- once again very clean-cut and well-mannered. It’s almost all a bit too safe, though. I feel like if the band would order a Caesar salad at Applebee’s, and the waitress brought a House salad instead, they would just be like “ummmm... thanks,”
instead of asking for what they actually
ordered. I realize this is “emo” we’re talking about, but the timidity of Joie de Vivre shows through; not necessarily in the emotional, sincere lyrics, but rather in their reluctance to add some variability to their sound.
It’s a bit frustrating, that’s all. The slow drone of the singer is enticing when he whines “Oh captain / Oh captain / Can you help me find my way back hooooommmmmeee!”
but all the while I’m aching for some intricate guitar work or banging percussion to appear. As frustrating as it can be to listen to Summer Months
and wish they had taken a different direction here, or took the road less traveled there, I realize my whims are futile. When it comes down to it, Joie de Vivre is Joie de Vivre, and as “That’s the Hot Part” comes to a close it becomes clear that I actually don’t want it any other way.