Recently a new brand of emo has been emerging. Gone is the emo influenced by rock & metal – the kind that launched My Chemical Romance to fame – and in is a new brand fronted by American bands like Modern Baseball and Into It. Over It in a style that reflects influences from 90’s and 00’s pop punk and grunge. Joyce Manor are one of the latest crop of bands that fit that template.
‘Cody’, their 4th LP and second on Epitaph Records, is out October 7th and with it the band have taken a slight musical turn. Their first 3 albums demonstrate the bands’ ability to propuce lo-fi grungy emo with fuzzy guitars, meaningful lyrics and a lack of a serious melody. This latest outing doesn’t ditch these ideas but develops them to create a much more musically diverse Joyce Manor.
‘Fake I.D.’ – the first song and single on the album – demonstrates this evolution at it’s best; with a bouncing melody running through the song, it has the feel of a tune that could define the new side of the band. However as soon as that short 2 minutes is over, the album drops into ‘Eighteen’. A song which tackles their previous sound but sounds much more mature and though out. It reflects the theme of the album – not only musically but within the lyrics – of maturing. After the song examines the thought of looking back at a foolish, young and worried eighteen year-old self lead singer Barry Johnson let’s out “I feel old today” in a way that isn’t jaded but instead almost triumphant.
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A couple of songs later you the second single from the record – ‘Last You Heard Of Me’ – bursts on the scene which, at just over 3 minutes, is one of the longest tracks on the record. This song follows the grungier style template of the bands earlier work but approached with a renewed maturity. Rather than a barrage of sound, the song feels more structured and musically strong, a theme that seems to run through the whole album. As a band Joyce Manor have never spent more than 10 days in a recording studio until this release, and you can really tell. Having spent 2 months plugging away in the search of ‘Cody’ it appears that this new approach has really payed off.
Nothing sums this up more than the closing tune on the record. ‘This Song Is A Mess’ is anything but a mess, it bounces along with a renewed youthfulness which echoes of their contemporaries in Modern Baseball. This song is a refreshing and playful end to a mature and, at times, serious album about growing up not just in life but within the bands music. This is by far Joyce Manor’s most accomplished and complete work to date and leaves the listener itching to hear the next chapter in this evolving bands story.