No Joy Make Shoegaze Danceable on 'Motherhood'

BY Matt YuyitungPublished Aug 21, 2020

Shoegaze isn't a style of music known for its danceability. For No Joy, their dense guitars and echoing vocals make for an immersive experience, but heavy distortion doesn't exactly help if you want to get people moving. Regardless, on Motherhood, Jasamine White-Gluz tries anyway, kicking the record off with "Birthmark," a poppier, more propulsive song that also happens to be one of the record's best tracks. It's no fluke. Motherhood is an eclectic record that shows White-Gluz at her most exploratory, twisting No Joy's sound into new, compelling shapes.

This exploratory approach is a large part of what makes this record interesting. A track like "Ageless" sounds more like the Knife than Slowdive, while the back half of "Four" features probably some of the most aggressive guitar work in No Joy's entire catalogue. After a string of EPs showing a more experimental bent, the work on Motherhood shows how malleable the basic elements of shoegaze really are. 

With shades of post-rock, '90s techno, dance pop and more, it's impressive how organic a lot of No Joy's genre-bending feels. Motherhood's expansive sound palette is easily one of its biggest strengths, like the electronics of "Happy Bleeding" or the Beach House-esque atmosphere of "Primal Curse." No Joy have learned a lot in the five years since their last full-length, 2015's More Faithful and Motherhood is the perfect encapsulation of that.
(Hand Drawn Dracula)

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