Thursday, March 22, 2012

Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired - Joyce Manor (Review)

The first time everyone really got a chance to know the band, Joyce Manor, was last year when they released their debut self titled album. That album was praised by everyone. Aside from Reinventing Axl  Rose by Against Me!, this was one of the best debut full lengths in a VERY long time. It was at the top of all kinds of lists, it was given close to perfect reviews on everything, and it was just, overall, embraced by the punk community. It was fresh. It was a ten track album of straight forward punk rock with only a few songs breaking the two minute mark. With a debut like that, It is hard to keep things together and reach the expectations of the listeners. Considering how good that album was, I don't find it possible to reach those expectations. This one is no exception. It is not bad, it is just not what I had in mind.

As you start "These Kind Of Ice Skates", it sounds similar to the sound they have become known for since their previous album. That is all soon going to change. The second half of this song is where you realize how much they have experimented on this album. And I don't mean that in a bad way. It is still good stuff, it is just not what anyone expected (me at least).  The second half of this song is just really odd (in a good way, I guess).

"Comfortable Clothes" is one of the best tracks on the album. It sounds like their signature sound, in your face straight forward punk rock. This is one of the tracks which they had previously played live many times, which led us to believe that the whole album would be the same. That was not the case. There is only a few songs on here that have that kind of sound. Those ones being the best of the album.

After that comes "See How Tame I Can Be". This is another really different one. It is one that has an 80's type sound. It sounds like something I can imagine The Strokes releasing. "Joyce Manor releasing Strokes-esqu music, what?" Yea I know, that was my reaction. You really can't just imagine this. You have to hear it for yourself. For what it is, they pull it off pretty well, I must admit.

Next is "Drainage". It is a static filled lo fi acoustic song. It is pretty slow for a Joyce Manor track. It is also pretty dark and emotional. Especially when the piano comes in. Very weird track, but still okay.

"Video Killed The Radio Star" is a cover of the Buggles song of the same name. It sounds really weird, Joyce Manor covering an 80s new wave song, but it really sounds nothing like the original. They really made it their own. It has so much energy. It is actually a very good version of the song. If this was not a cover, it would probably be the overall highlight of the album.

"If I Needed You There" is another one of those classic Joyce-sounding songs. It is these songs that hold this album up and help it from completely tumbling over. This song is the fastest song on the album. It is one of those songs that make you feel like breaking something. Besides some minor production changes, I could easily imagine this being on the Self Titled LP.

Then comes "Bride Of Usher" which is another weird one coming from Joyce Manor. It sounds happier than their usual stuff. It sounds "beachy" for the lack of a better word. I guess what I am trying to say is that I could picture this being on Fake Problems' latest album Real Ghosts Caught On Tape. I am not so sure how I feel about this one. It is cool and all, but it is just not what I want to listen to when I hear a Joyce Manor record.

"Violent Inside" is another pretty good track. It is a tad too "pop-punky" for my liking, but it still is very good. It took me a few listens to appreciate it, but I eventually did. What this song is about is very relatable for me, also. It is about growing up as a punk kid and little things pissing you off that don't piss of normal people. That is something I deal with a lot. So that is another reason I really like this song,

The last song, "I'm Always Tired", is another acoustic track, except this sounds more like traditional Joyce Manor than "Drainage". It is a high tempo pop punk song with just an acoustic guitar. If this had electric guitars, drums, bass, and about 30 more seconds, this song would not be "odd" at all.

Maybe not what we expected, but it is still a pretty good album. I am heavily enjoying this album regardless of how it holds up against their previous album. Some of the weird songs throw you off a course a bit while listening, but you get over it quick. The first time listening, you will probably be confused (I sure was), but you get used to it after a few listens. One thing I loved about the first album was the length of the songs and the length of the album overall. It was all very short and very easy to listen to. This album takes that to the extreme, with only nine songs, making it only a thirteen minute album. I am all for short albums, but I am not so sure about this. It may be a little too short. Either way, it is still a fun album and I still look forward to what they do in the future.

Highlights : Comfortable Clothes, If I Needed You There, Violent Inside

Music : 8 (different, but still very good)
Lyrics : 7 (I actually like them a lot)
Artwork : 6 (Nothing special)

Overall : 7.5

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