Music

No Joy: More Faithful

Shoegaze revivalists No Joy deliver their best work yet with the transcendent More Faithful.


No Joy

More Faithful

Label: Mexican Summer
US Release Date: 2015-06-09
UK Release Date: 2015-06-08
Amazon
iTunes

Creating something new and different within a genre that, by its very nature, is fairly restrictive can seem next to impossible. With a style as insular and relatively straightforward as shoegaze, there’s little a band can do to deviate much from the rote formula of massive, fuzzed out guitars, and detached, ethereal vocals. As with any genre there are of course exceptions and those who deviate slightly from the formula, but by and large there is an expected and accepted sound that causes a specific band to be categorized accordingly.

In the case of Montreal’s No Joy, shoegaze is an apt descriptor, one that serves as a fine approximation of what the group sounds like on both their early releases and their latest, More Faithful. But the underlying difference between No Joy and their fellow shoegaze revivalists, and what ultimately finds them creating something new and different at least within the most recent crop of shoegazers, lies in both the complexity of their instrumental interplay and the immediacy of each song’s melody.

Rather than simply relying on colossal washes of sound to carry scant compositions, No Joy’s songs stand on their own with a pop sensibility that goes beyond the genre’s general reliance on sheer volume to infuse each with a melodicism often lacking. Taking diligent notes on their favorite My Bloody Valentine, Cocteau Twins and Slowdive albums, No Joy distills the best elements of each into a near perfect amalgamation of modern-day shoegaze.

So distorted and densely structured are the guitar lines that it takes several listens to even begin parsing out the melodic intricacy on display. While Jasamine White-Gluz and Laura Lloyd’s vocals are the most prominent and immediate hook on More Faithful, their guitar work proves equally compelling. Awash in a sea of effects that mask their immediacy and the attention they deserve, each line requires dedicated attention to stand out from the mass of sound that, combined, they create.

On “Hollywood Teeth” they rush forth with an urgency often lacking in the genre, guitars keening beneath the lovely harmonizing of White-Gluz and Lloyd. Still employing the requisite detached vocal delivery, they manage a perfect pairing of their tonally similar voices, an effortless meshing that helps draw attention to the songs as a whole rather than the individual voices. By “Moon In My Mouth” they are playing off one another vocally in a manner akin to their guitar interplay with a gorgeous sense of ease that carries through the whole of the album.

“I Am An Eye Machine” is effortlessly propulsive, floating along on a sea of brittle guitars and hushed vocals reminiscent of the genre’s heyday. It’s a track that would not have sounded out of place on any number of albums emanating from the UK some twenty-five years ago. Slowdive-esque, it lumbers to a massive outro that continues to build upon itself until it threatens to collapse under its own weight. While reminiscent of other groups, it is by no means derivative or reductive in its approach. Rather it functions as the group’s homage to its influences while furthering the genre’s potential.

Growing all the more discernable and immediate with each listen, More Faithful proves itself to be an impressive statement from the group, one that finds No Joy transcending their influences and proves them worthy of inclusion in the same breath as the genre’s biggest names. More Faithful could well prove the new template from which subsequent generations draw inspiration.

9
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Music

Run the Jewels - "Ooh LA LA" (Singles Going Steady)

Run the Jewels' "Ooh LA LA" may hit with old-school hip-hop swagger, but it also frustratingly affirms misogynistic bro-culture.

Books

New Translation of Balzac's 'Lost Illusions' Captivates

More than just a tale of one man's fall, Balzac's Lost Illusions charts how literature becomes another commodity in a system that demands backroom deals, moral compromise, and connections.

Music

Protomartyr - "Processed by the Boys" (Singles Going Steady)

Protomartyr's "Processed By the Boys" is a gripping spin on reality as we know it, and here, the revolution is being televised.

Music

Go-Go's Bassist Kathy Valentine Is on the "Write" Track After a Rock-Hard Life

The '80s were a wild and crazy time also filled with troubles, heartbreak and disappointment for Go-Go's bass player-guitarist Kathy Valentine, who covers many of those moments in her intriguing dual project that she discusses in this freewheeling interview.

Music

New Brain Trajectory: An Interview With Lee Ranaldo and Raül Refree

Two guitarists, Lee Ranaldo and Raül Refree make an album largely absent of guitar playing and enter into a bold new phase of their careers. "We want to take this wherever we can and be free of genre restraints," says Lee Ranaldo.

Books

'Trans Power' Is a Celebration of Radical Power and Beauty

Juno Roche's Trans Power discusses trans identity not as a passageway between one of two linear destinations, but as a destination of its own.

Music

Yves Tumor Soars With 'Heaven to a Tortured Mind'

On Heaven to a Tortured Mind, Yves Tumor relishes his shift to microphone caressing rock star. Here he steps out of his sonic chrysalis, dons some shiny black wings and soars.

Music

Mike Patton and Anthony Pateras' tētēma Don't Hit the Mark on 'Necroscape'

tētēma's Necroscape has some highlights and some interesting ambiance, but ultimately it's a catalog of misses for Mike Patton and Anthony Pateras.

Music

M. Ward Offers Comforting Escapism on 'Migration Stories'

Although M. Ward didn't plan the songs on Migration Stories for this pandemic, they're still capable of acting as a balm in these dark hours.

Music

Parsonsfield Add Indie Pop to Their Folk on 'Happy Hour on the Floor'

Happy Hour on the Floor is a considerable departure from Parsonsfield's acclaimed rustic folk sound signaling their indie-pop orientation. Parsonsfield remind their audience to bestow gratitude and practice happiness: a truly welcomed exaltation.

Music

JARV IS... - "House Music All Night Long" (Singles Going Steady)

"House Music All Night Long" is a song our inner, self-isolated freaks can jive to. JARV IS... cleverly captures how dazed and confused some of us may feel over the current pandemic, trapped in our homes.

Music

All Kinds of Time: Adam Schlesinger's Pursuit of Pure, Peerless Pop

Adam Schlesinger was a poet laureate of pure pop music. There was never a melody too bright, a lyrical conceit too playfully dumb, or a vibe full of radiation that he would shy away from. His sudden passing from COVID-19 means one of the brightest stars in the power-pop universe has suddenly dimmed.

Music

Folkie Eliza Gilkyson Turns Up the Heat on '2020'

Eliza Gilkyson aims to inspire the troops of resistance on her superb new album, 2020. The ten songs serve as a rallying cry for the long haul.

Music

Human Impact Hit Home with a Seismic First Album From a Veteran Lineup

On their self-titled debut, Human Impact provide a soundtrack for this dislocated moment where both humanity and nature are crying out for relief.

Music

Monophonics Are an Ardent Blast of True Rock 'n' Soul on 'It's Only Us'

The third time's the charm as Bay Area soul sextet Monophonics release their shiniest record yet in It's Only Us.

Film

'Slay the Dragon' Is a Road Map of the GOP's Methods for Dividing and Conquering American Democracy

If a time traveler from the past wanted to learn how to subvert democracy for a few million bucks, gerrymandering documentary Slay the Dragon would be a superb guide.

Music

Bobby Previte / Jamie Saft / Nels Cline: Music from the Early 21st Century

A power-trio of electric guitar, keyboards, and drums takes on the challenge of free improvisation—but using primarily elements of rock and electronica as strongly as the usual creative music or jazz. The result is focused.

Books

Does Inclusivity Mean That Everyone Does the Same Thing?

What is the meaning of diversity in today's world? Russell Jacoby raises and addresses some pertinent questions in his latest work, On Diversity.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews
Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.