Joie de Vivre
The North End


3.5
great

Review

by Eric USER (161 Reviews)
June 2nd, 2010 | 29 replies | 10,740 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Graceful and elegant, yet simple and subtle, Joie de Vivre hit their mark.

6 of 6 thought this review was well written

I’ve always been fascinated with the Spanish Romantic painter Francisco Goya. You may recognize his more popular pieces like the colorful depiction of the Spanish Civil War El Tres de Mayo 1808 or the foreboding (and now disputed) work El Coloso, but what most interests me is the darker world that began manifesting itself in his paintings. Intense and insane, the works he scrawled on the walls of his dwelling, Quinta Del Sordo, were so intensely personal that they were never meant to be seen by the world. Themes of horror and mortality were commonplace to Goya, a man suffering from deafness. Rather than coming off as simply disturbed, Goya’s “Black Paintings” leave a distinct impression of a lonely man, in his own little world. The comparison isn’t perfect, of course, but the distinct loneliness and personal narrative of Goya comes across as strikingly similar to Joie de Vivre’s introspective journey, their first full-length, The North End. Yes, Joie de Vivre’s album was obviously meant to be shared with the world (and it should), but The North End, in a wholly way, creates a blank canvas of dreariness, lethargy, and even ambiguity much like the nineteenth-century Spanish artist.

Sorrowful and isolated, Joie de Vivre’s latest is a record for the loner. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “But isn’t emo, inherently, the genre for the misanthrope in the back of the classroom with the Texas Is the Reason shirt on, muttering to himself?” Well, this conception might pervade the genre, but Joie de Vivre take certain aspects of the midwestern emo sound and amplify them in a subtle way that’s sure to get you thinking.

Refining the genre that Sunny Day Real Estate began back in the 90’s seems to be as trite in today’s music scene as silly MySpace descriptors are, but Joie de Vivre distinguish themselves. “Summer in New London” sets the dial to ‘somber and rejected,’ and this distinct tone is never deserted by The North End. Graceful horns dignify the song, and I’m convinced even before Joie de Vivre’s vocalist takes his first breath. The essence of The North End is perceptible already- a simple elegance. Joie de Vivre, as was the case with their Summer Months EP, are perfectly adequate at constructing a sad, emotional melody married with despondent vocals. Never stunning with brilliance, Joie de Vivre takes a subtle path to success- one where the listener is subjected to quality song after quality song to achieve an almost subconscious level of appreciation, as pretentious as that sounds. The North End is best enjoyed as a whole; just let it slide into your brain as the dismal tendencies of Joie de Vivre take shape.

The introspective nature of the album begs for repeated listens and concentration. Be it the soft vocals, the slow drawl of the horns, or the oft-repetitious guitar melodies, every aspect of The North End serves as a synecdoche, granting the album a wholeheartedly full feeling, one you would expect from a band much more mature. It’s fantastic to see the band given the chance to spread their wings; because as enjoyable as Summer Months is, it feels criminally ephemeral. Joie de Vivre utilize the space of The North End to its full extent filling the album with enough single songs sure to elicit scores of listens- “Salt,” “Upper Deck San Diego,” and the title track all deserving of special praise. Though, as with Summer Months, it’s difficult to pinpoint the outstanding qualities of individual songs (a sign of consistency, in this case). While the uniformity of The North End detriments in dynamism, it enhances the emotional strength of the music.

In effect, it’s easy for me to think back to see why I originally felt a hankering to compare Joie de Vivre to Francisco Goya when those lonely horns hit me. The North End is an intelligent and personal album, one that’s sure to draw bounds of personal connections from the lucky listener. At its softly-beating and consistent heart, The North End impresses not through providing another likable SDRE clone, but instead carving an oh-so-subtle path for themselves that delves into the psyche of the listener.

Also, if you'd like a taste of Joie de Vivre, be sure to stream The North End in its entirety on PunkNews.org on June 8th for free.



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user ratings (68)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
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Tobias Oron (4)
Joie De Vivre reintroduce the sound of coming of age to a new generation of distraught teenagers....


Comments:Add a Comment 
SeaAnemone
June 2nd 2010



18802 Comments


hope you like this, guys


ps sometimes i write things and they don't make sense. tell me if this is like that pweez

SowingSeason
Emeritus
June 2nd 2010



14510 Comments


very nice review, as usual...never heard of these guys tho

Slum
June 2nd 2010



2579 Comments


First paragraph is very engaging, good read. Pos.

SeaAnemone
June 2nd 2010



18802 Comments


cool, thanks guys, and Slum I think you'd love this

Slum
June 2nd 2010



2579 Comments


Sweet, downloading right now

SeaAnemone
June 2nd 2010



18802 Comments


that's what I like to hear

Slum
June 2nd 2010



2579 Comments


I like this, has a very Empire! feel to it, yanno?

Slum
June 2nd 2010



2579 Comments


oh that's what you recommended. well then I guess we're on the same page here.

SeaAnemone
June 2nd 2010



18802 Comments


yeah, they're both on Count Your Lucky Stars Records

AggravatedYeti
June 2nd 2010



7684 Comments


Goya is the fucking man.
now that I've stated that fact --> Review.

Bitchfork
June 2nd 2010



7584 Comments


SeaAnemone, your last ten reviews have made me think that you don't suck with your writing (anymore). However, we're still on different wavelengths musically.

AggravatedYeti
June 3rd 2010



7684 Comments


the songs on their MySpace are pretty tight, I'll check the stream soon
review was of usual (rgood) eric quality
their horns sound so lush, mmmmm.

Calculate
June 3rd 2010



1135 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

:D!

crazyblinddude
June 3rd 2010



3389 Comments


Great review sea. Glad this got a review finally, especially from you. Looking forward to all your other CYLS reviews you said you get to do!

cvlts
June 3rd 2010



8917 Comments


scary?lol

Digging: Pedro the Lion - It's Hard To Find A Friend

crazyblinddude
June 3rd 2010



3389 Comments


nice pic MJ

SeaAnemone
June 3rd 2010



18802 Comments


me too MJ! : D and thanks to most of you : )

and MJ, didn't you wish you had the original Saturno haha, the one with the raging boner?

and yeah Bitch, I'm pretty content with being on different musical wavelengths

SeaAnemone
June 3rd 2010



18802 Comments


[img]http://www.abaxjp.com/goya-dog/dog-l.jpg[/img]

SeaAnemone
June 7th 2010



18802 Comments


two 4.5's??? wow, pleasantly surprised

SpaceisGolden
June 19th 2010



46 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Love me some Joie. I was pissed as balls, as they played with Empire! and Snowing in Philly like a week ago. But it was a Tuesday. God.



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