Review Summary: Loud, unrefined, and amazingly catchy. Joyce Manor's best album and one of the best punk albums of 2011.
2011 was in many regards an outstanding year for pop-punk. The Wonder Years had come out with the amazing Suburbia album just one year after they released The Upsides. The Story So Far debuted with their loud and dry sound on Under Soil and Dirt. And then we have Joyce Manor. The small 4-piece from Torrance, California only had a few demos before coming out with their debut album on 6131 Records. And boy did they come out with a good one.
Most fans of Joyce Manor will tell you that one the great things about the band is the DIY punk sound they have. This album doesn't just sound like a band going into a studio to record an album. It sounds like a group of friends just jamming out in a garage. No song on the album really passes the two minute and thirty second mark, each one hitting hard and hitting fast as they come along. Lead singer Barry Johnson screams and shouts his way through every track as if it was the first one being played at a garage show. Energetic and blood-pumping, the album doesn't pull any brakes until the very end.
The guitars are loud and rough, but arranged in clear and catchy melodies that just hook you in. Speaking of hooks, there are a lot of good ones on this record. Every song will make you want to belt out each chorus alongside Barry Johnson. The drums are simple and fast, working beautifully in every song and bringing on a feeling of urgency. The lyricism on the record works well with the melodies and showcases some amazing humor from Joyce Manor. The entire album is extremely refreshing and just plain fun to listen to.
Joyce Manor's career is one filled with almost no low points, with just about each of their four albums received well by most. This album helped catapult Joyce Manor and is the definitive version of their sound. In my own honest opinion, Joyce Manor's S/T is their best album, one of the best albums of 2011 and an album you seriously need to jam to if you haven't already.