A sense of wonder, darkness and longing are key elements to any Joywave song. Since forming in 2010, the Rochester, N.Y. quintet have always presented their unique, imaginative sound in a way which fascinates and manifests their artistic talent. Taking distinctive sounds and creating music complete of futuristic fantasy. Their new album does just that.
Content is the band’s fourth album; It provides stylish eclectic changeups with every track, but it doesn’t venture far from their prior distinguishing sounding records. From heavy synth to rock to completely stripped back, with the help of Daniel Armbruster and his rocky, nonchalant tones, this band covers all areas which has the ability to create a new and unique magical domain controlled entirely by music.
It seems anger and sadness are the fundamental themes behind the title track. Contrasting sullener synth versus with intense heavy rock chorus’ and eerily unsettling vocals, form an innovative track which sets this band apart from any other. The creepy synthesised keyboard completing the song, only confirms Joywave fans have once again entered the compelling world which seems to be completely natural to them.
The diverse talent of the quintet is shown in the following track “Shutdown”. For the first seven seconds we are immersed in background noise before Armbruster brings us into a drum and bass intro. It becomes a pop rock song, carrying a catchy chorus full of rocky guitar strums and embracing falsetto vocals, however it does go on a little too long, with no other interesting stylistic changes occurring, the repetitious beat isn’t enough to keep the melody captivating.
“It’s a Trip!”, on the other hand, has a groovy rock ‘n’ roll sound which doesn’t hesitate to catch hold of attention. The laid-back single provides an infectious guitar beat during the versus before a compelling bass hits in the chorus. For the synth-mad band, a synth free song would be hard to resist but for this rocky song it very much works; A few synths can be heard, however, near the end of the song to provide a darker more angsty feeling as Armbruster’s chilling laugh can be heard in the background. It certainly makes for a catchy, head bopping track and is definitely number one from the album list. “Doubt” also enters into the electric, rock ‘n’ roll genre however it fails to gain the innovative edge which “It’s a Trip!” most certainly contains.
It’s hard to find a weak spot in this mass of futuristic pop-rock bliss, “Confidence” seems to be a lesser track than the other. Whilst it expresses the true talent of Daniel Armbrusters stripped back vocals, it seems an outcast in comparison to the rest of the album and therefore becomes no more than a short filler.
It has been a long time since I’ve listened to a record packed full with interesting, alternative tracks without the feeling of getting bored halfway through. Whilst this genre of music has seen a continuing growth in the music industry, this band are definitely one on their own. Intertwining melancholy ballads like “Let’s Talk About Feelings” with dark synth, hard rock tunes like “Content” and rock ‘n’ roll melodies such as “It’s a Trip!” – it is a vibrant adventure. It is therefore disheartening that unless you know of the five-piece then this album will never be heard. It is an undeniable shame that Joywave have never had the recognition they solely deserve.