Firstly, take a moment to appreciate how good that EP cover is. Ok, that should be enough. This is a new EP from No Joy, who have been around for three albums now and have taken a breather with this new release. It’s shoegaze that doesn’t reach for the cacophony of My Bloody Valentine, though it decides to keep that band’s love for pop melody and bring that forward. The vocals of Jasamine White-Gluz are hidden behind walls of fuzziness, but maybe walls are a bad way to describe it, because they’re more like soft clouds that aren’t immediately penetrable but after a while, it’s very accessible. These are pop songs that have been dream-ified, given a shimmer and some fuzziness.
‘A Thorn In Garlands Side’ is the best track on here, and one that injects enough variation to avoid the regular problems with repetitive shoegaze. They change time completely at the 2:20 mark, with a wonky guitar and swirling effects leaving holes where previously there was a dual guitar attack and furious drumming. White-Gluz uses her voice like another instrument, hovering in the other instrumentation where her lyrics are barely decipherable, but a few pop through, like ‘Always tired, on and on and on and on’. The guitar solos, or rather, two guitar solos at once, is bouncy and compressed into a short space of time, reminding me of those simple but effective early Modest Mouse solos.
The band slow down to a relaxed beat on ‘Theme Song’, where Jasamine White-Gluz can sing without the rest of the quartet completely smothering her voice, or at least until the krautrocky grind of the drums and guitar kick in. No Joy are a cut above the rest of the shoegaze bands, they clearly aren’t just pulling from the rulebook and this EP shows that they aren’t willing to rest – they plan on releasing more EPs this year instead of an album, lucky for us. It’s ten minutes and three songs, there’s no messing around and it throws you in the deep end. Good.
Funnel Recommends: A Thorn In Garlands Side