PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
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

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.

Film

15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.

Music

Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.

Music

Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.

Music

Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.

Music

Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.

Music

Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.

Film

The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.

Music

British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.

Film

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.

Music

​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.

Music

The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.

Music

Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.

Television

How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.

Music

Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.

Music

CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.

Music

Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.

Music

While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.


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.