No Joy Experience Aggressive Euphoria In 'More Faithful'
Shoegazers No Joy return with their third album 'More Faithful' (released 8th June via Mexican Summer), and it is their most complex and compelling record to date.
To some degree, No Joy depart from the feel of their previous albums, 'Wait to Pleasure' of 2013 and 2010’s 'Ghost Blonde', even though 'More Faithful' has no overall style. Opener "Remember Nothing" sets this up. It’s instantly noisy and overwhelming in an unforgiving forthright way.
With it’s almost aggressive fast-paced beat, juxtaposed with mellowed vocals, No Joy set the bar for the rest of the album. At times challenging, 'More Faithful' is worth persevering because it is its complexity that makes it a true gem.
After the whirlwind of an album opener, "Everything New" is unexpectedly slow. With all the elements of the hazy honeyed sound that No Joy epitomize, they refuse to allow the listener to get comfortable in a mellow haze. "Hollywood Teeth" tears this apart, with a return to the amplified noisy aggression of the opening song. It is a short track at just over two minutes, but every second is tumultuous.
Once more however, No Joy unsettle the listener with the dreamy "Moon in my Mouth". The echo vocals make it an airy track, shining through amongst the backdrop of a sludgier sound that predominates 'More Faithful'.
"Burial in Twos" has a poppy feel to it. At first it seems incomplete and lacking a fundamental ingredient. This is resolved however, as around a minute and a half in, the track perks up. Descending into a grittier sound with just the right amount of pop residue and a heavier re-verb towards the end (making up for the emptiness of the start), this works out to make "Burial in Twos" a solid track.
"Corpo Daemon" is like "Hollywood Teeth", fast and unforgivingly in your face. The shorter tracks on 'More Faithful' are what really make the album what it is, injecting the feeling of disorientation into the hazier, slower songs.
"Bolas" has an ethereal quality to it. Whilst "Chalk Snake" is downbeat, it’s overridden with a dark sludgy sound that could be no more unlike the poppy "Rude Films".
"I am an Eye Machine" is an ideal penultimate track, gradually gathering depth along the way to conclude with a delightful fuzzy finish. Whilst "Judith" is a sweet tack, it seems wrong to end with. It’s a dreamy track, but, coming after "I am an Eye Machine", there’s something lacking.
'More Faithful' is a juicy album to bite your teeth into, as long as you aren’t put off by its whirlwind complexities and the incoherence between aggressive noise and mellowed out vocals that it thrives on.
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Words by Ellie Brown