Review Summary: A modern freerunning landscape complete with scenic vistas, complex obstacles, and luxurious rest stops that ensure you’ll frequent the course
A busy album in every sense of the term from start to finish, The Joy of Motion
will require your full attention while occupying your ears. The non-stop fretboard freerunning of Javier Reyes and Tosin Abasi weave a mental parkour course polished and perfectly framed by the densely layered yet intricately crisp production of Misha Mansoor, skipping through and hopping over genres like mastered obstacles. Much like their debut, however, there’s plenty of room for a breath of fresh air after setting a new record on the course, and even among the furiously technical solos of dizzying tracks like “Mind = Spun,” there is space dedicated to peeling back the shred-heavy jetsetting futuristic landscape in favor of a prairie of drawn out chords and open air.
Sonically, Abasi and company kick things off with a nostalgic, Bulb-produced acoustic intro, before stoking the cerebral fires with the flighty bass pattern and tender yet technical drumming of “Air Chrysalis,” the danceable flamenco/jazz hybrid of “Another Year,” the undeniably catchy funk of “Physical Education,” and so much more. On the darker side, crunchy grooves and polyrhythms galore are also well-executed all the way from the traditional AAL riffage of “Ka$cade” to the dark and sharp BTBAM-esque direction found on “Nephele.” But the melodic and unexpected moments of glee undeniably stand out, making it easy to get lost in the open-air blues interlude of “Nephele” and forget its metal-plated core, though it’s the combination of both that make it, and the album as a whole, such a fascinating and enjoyable listen.
But that’s also part of what makes The Joy of Motion
a deep, satisfying, and replayable album: you won’t get everything out of it on the first listen. The studio work of Mansoor (production) and fellow Periphery bandmate "Nolly" Getgood (mixing) allots for a room jam-packed with sounds that are somehow opulently clear while the band pour in layers and layers of details. Like scanning a high definition image for details, more and more will appear to you in time, and every revelation is a welcome addition to the listening experience.
The Joy of Motion
is a modern freerunning landscape complete with scenic vistas, complex obstacles, and luxurious rest stops that ensure you’ll frequent the course, learn more and more as you do, and never feel out of place or uncomfortable along the ride. While others try to force-feed their listeners mashed riffs or stewed solos, Abasi’s trio succeed here for their ability to let it all come together as a balanced and organic experience anyone from diehard fan to casual listener can enjoy. And by providing such a natural, accessible track that’s also challenging and rewarding, The Joy of Motion
succeeds as a powerful and lasting musical venture that solidifies Animals as Leaders as not only musical trailblazers, but consistent frontrunners.