Published Jun 05, 2015While No Joy spend much of More Faithful incorporating different genres into their sonic repertoire, the new idea they spend the most time with involves vocals. Singer/guitarist Jasamine White-Gluz wilfully obfuscated lyrics on the Montreal band's 2010 full-length debut and again on sophomore effort Wait to Pleasure — even going so far as to withhold them from bandmates — and conformed to orthodox shoegaze protocol by burying vocals deep enough in tempestuous sound swirls that they just worked like additional dynamic instrumentation. But More Faithful is more of an open book, and that new approach to vocals is instrumental in transforming No Joy's music.
There's plenty of shoegazing happening on More Faithful, but it's not a shoegaze record: "Everything New" is a chilly, lush pop ballad that happens to be surrounded by an arsenal of stomp pedals; "Moon in my Mouth" juxtaposes a wobbling, math-y signature to a dreamy vocal hook; "Burial in Twos" coasts through the heavens on an electro vibe before the band kicks the fuzz engines into overdrive; "Rude Films" brings a bouncy power pop march that arrives on the screaming feedback trails of the woozy neo-folk of "Chalk Snake"; "I am an Eye Machine" climbs from a drowsy new age chime to a psychedelic sunburst of an anthemic climax; and "Corpo Daemon" gets a blistering grunge treatment.
It's a record built less on borrowed nostalgia and genre fetishism and more on earnest, risk-taking creativity and mixing genres in weird sonic chemistry experiments. That poses No Joy as a creatively fecund, compelling authority on a record filled with lyrics that touch subjects like maturity, intimacy, patience and confronting your demons. (Arts & Crafts)