Album Review: Joyce Manor – “Joyce Manor”

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Let me start off this review with a warning – if you hear Joyce Manor‘s self-titled album, you’re probably going to want to catch them on their US summer tour to see if their energy as a live band can match the sound of this album. Date for that tour are available here, but you’re going to be pissed if you hear the album and then find out that they aren’t playing near you.

So Joyce Manor hasn’t been around that long – just over 2 years, according to their MySpace page – but they’ve already made some big moves. After putting out an EP, Constant Headache, last April and touring their butts off, they signed to 6131 Records this fall to release their debut full-length. The band’s frantic sound and frequent tempo changes take you through rock, punk, surf, and pop sounds to arrive at the enjoyable madness that is their self-titled full-length. Buckle up.

Many songs on this album, including the opening track Orange Julius, start off fast and bright almost to the point of finding a raw, garage rock guitar tone. This usually gives way to subdued verses and a return to the abrasive sound during the choruses, and then a bridge or outro.

Others, like Beach Community and Derailed, start off slower but keeping the same guitar tone – I want to say it reminds me of Weezer in the way it keeps you interested with the promise of more to come. Regardless, these songs build to power-poppy choruses and keep the energy up until they close.

In either case, Joyce Manor keeps it interesting by varying the song structures and tempos within each song, as well as keeping the energy cranked way up and the sound pretty raw and untamed. The album reminds me a lot of Long Island’s The Arrogant Sons Of Bitches (who are sadly no longer a band, but spawned Bomb The Music Industry!) and DC’s The Max Levine Ensemble, as well as Propaghandi.

Having heard a few of these songs on the band’s Constant Headache EP (which you can hear at the band’s BandCamp page), I’ll say that the band has gotten more creative with their song structures and sound without losing what made them fun for me to listen to in the first place – their manic energy. I’m very excited to see and hear what else Joyce Manor has in store for us.

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