Published Jul 18, 2014Beginning with the band's self-titled debut in 2011, Joyce Manor have woven desperate, melancholic pop-punk anthems, stitching in stale booze, lost loves and fear of what the future may bring. They deliver a paradoxical brand of loneliness, the kind a room full of people can shout along to. With Never Hungover Again, Joyce Manor seem to have sobered up a bit, but their despondent punk energy is still very much alive.
Joyce Manor have softened with their new record – they haven't let go of their youthful melancholy, but they have shed the harshness that can be heard in their previous albums. Their self-titled album's punchy and restless highlight "Leather Jacket" has given way to the steady, constant rhythm of "Catalina Fight Song." 2012's Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired featured a delightful, crashing cover of "Video Killed the Radio Star"; Never Hungover Again offers up more brutally honest material, like the solitude-wrought lyrics of "In the Army Now." "Victoria" features a wailing chorus cut up by sugary riffs, deceptively sweet considering the track's heartbroken content. But that's the name of Joyce Manor's game — sadness beyond their years enrobed in loud, teenage pop-punk energy.
Never Hungover Again is fully-grown and moves at a steady pace, while remaining characteristic to Joyce Manor's roots. The only thing that leaves the listener wanting is the fact that it's over so quickly. (Epitaph)