Joyce Manor - Never Hungover Again
Record Label: Epitaph
Release Date: July 22, 2014
So NPR decided to do the premiere of Joyce Manor's new album Never Hungover Again two days ago (July 13th) and to say that I'm stoked on this album would be an understatement. As a whole, the record is a logical step forward from 2012's Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired, but that's not to say that it's predictable. From some Post-Rock inspired guitar parts to keyboard flourishes, a-la label mates Motion City Soundtrack, there's enough here to keep not only a layperson, but also, (I imagine) most critics, happy.
Lyrically, this album hits home for me more than any record released so far this year. Lines like "There's no way to keep in touch with certain people/ You wonder how long something can last/ Pretty sure most people don't think about that/ But who the fuck is laughing now?" from "Catalina Fight Song", are executed with such classic Joyce Manor swagger that anybody who is doubting whether this album lives up to its hype will surely forget what they were worrying about. Musically, the individual instruments all sound great. the guitars sound big and urgent, but not blown-out in any way. The drums sit perfectly in the mix, occupying just enough space to round out the sonic space of the record without being overbearing. And Finally, the bass tracks are very present, and particularly well written. This is a mature, well thought out Joyce Manor record, and it's awesome.
Joyce manor is a band who have always worn their punk influences proudly on their sleeve, and that trend clearly continues with this album. The production is a bit more slick and shiny, which may turn some fans off. But honestly, if it does, those people are just being snobs. There's so much solid musical structure and simple-yet-brutally-effective vocal melodies that the glossy production seems earned rather than gimmicky. The production makes the record especially accessible, and I think that will be a big factor in how well the release (hopefully) does. This record has the pop-sensibilities that can certainly draw a crowd, but it's gritty enough that even those on the crustier side of the punk spectrum could probably nod their heads in approval. And most importantly, if you're a fan of The Smiths, or any of their contemporaries, chances are you'll look fondly upon this record.
Due to the newness of the record, no clear favorite has stood out for me. But I don't think that's the point. This is the summer album I've been waiting for. This is the exact kind of album that should be bought on CD and be left in your car so that you can yell "I want a heart tattoo" with the windows down. There a plenty of bands that can deliver that experience, but none do it with the self-depreciating finesse of Joyce Manor.
As of late, I've had a real love-hate relationship with Epitaph. (I mean, there is absolutely no denying how atrocious some of those bands are, *cough*Fallinginreverse*cough*). But I see not-so subtle glimmers of hope in their decision to sign Joyce Manor. In fact, if you look at the pre-whothehellcarescore epitaph roster, this band would fit right in. For me, Joyce Manor had a lot to live up to with this album, and signing to Epitaph scared me a bit, but there's no doubt in my mind that by the time the year ends, Never Hungover Again will be in my top 5.
Nice review my friend, and good job on writing one of the only review that does mention the brevity of the album. As much as I liked this album, I'm finding that the songs don't have much staying power. It took me probably over 100 listens of their self titled before I got tired of it, and Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired, well that album wasn't on of them! HAHAHA. I don't know. I'm finding that I'm skipping over most of the middle of the album to get to tracks like heated swimming pool, or to go back to the beginning of the album and listen to Christmas card or Falling in love. I still like the songs, but they're just not staying with as much as their previous albums.