Review Summary: you’re getting harder to believe in.
Like any mediocre writer would, I’m going to ask you to first imagine a scene. Take a mental trip down the road to the local sports bar. I want you to imagine whatever shitty bar band is wanking their way through an under-practiced AC/DC tribute either right now or later tonight. This is pretty much every bands worst nightmare isn’t it" Well Joyce Manor have been around for a while now and they’re essentially the poster-child punk band that’s been making bar-shows less of a sad cover circle-jerk and more of an entertaining and witty statement on music itself with albums like Never Hungover Again
, the early Weezer influenced Cody
, and, of course, the big bang theory that started the band off on their S/T
record. The band has always managed to craft a basic yet calculated sound infusing every element of bands like Descendents and old Green Day with sounds from newer acts like Jeff Rosenstock and Touché Amoré into a sound that is somehow only their own. The shitty sports bars are in their hands now, and there may be more guitar strings on the stage floor than on the actual guitars themselves, but as the power chords ring and the cymbals break while you’re being pushed up against the barrier by ecstatic teenagers that probably don’t get out enough, Joyce Manor manage to put you through a sonic 18 minutes of punk genius with their self titled debut.
It’s not necessarily through a single element that Joyce Manor shine though, their batch of diamonds laid out here display some incredibly versatile punk drumming, and punchy hardcore-influenced guitar tones playing poppier melodies (yes, played the right
way) being crashed to the tune of Barry’s vocal melodies. Though it’s only 18 minutes in length, the album throws you for many loops from the start with opener “Orange Julius,” that opens with something I can only describe as cymbals actually
eating guitars. From there on, the fast paced punk-pop tales of “Famous Friend” and “Beach Community” play like short stories that work well incredibly in and out of context to the album, serving their purpose as well-conceived punk tracks to outshine the unhealthy fat left behind by emo revival (yes, I’m looking at you, Florida). Songs that they had previously recorded for their initial debut, 2010’s Constant Headache EP
sound like songs teenagers can only create in their wet dreams. “Leather Jacket” plays like a power chord doused diss track to Barry’s friend and his new leather jacket, but makes it probably one of the most fun punk songs of the current decade’s, with its incredible rhythm and old school rock ‘n roll guitar solo that ends it. “Constant Nothing” gives perhaps the most entertaining drum performance on the record and easily acts as the album’s most energetic gem. The album only slows down with closer, “Constant Headache,” which is not only the best song on this album, but is easily one of the best punk songs of the modern age. The song gives a hint of what was to come by essentially playing off a cool and concise emo magnum opus that had 21 year old Rivers Cuomo trembling in his figurative black walled room. They’ve managed to take and wear the past-punk’s influence, while juxtaposing it simultaneously by displaying more melodic hooks and arguably more adolescent lyrical content as compared to their contemporaries. With their self titled, Joyce Manor affirm everything that’s happened to the DIY scene and make their own statement of what is and was to come with their canon S/T