NMF Double Track Review: Joyce Manor/The Story So Far


Joyce Manor destroy any negative expectations to go forth on a punked up power-pop victory lap with “A Million Dollars To Kill Me”

Joyce Manor have been one of the most exciting bands to follow in punk music since their near-instant classic debut self titled record dropped in 2011. While they’ve never went on to replicate that same timed-chaos and lightning in a bottle that was on that record, the band and the fanbase knew immediately from thereon out that they didn’t fucking need to.

After 2012’s odd, slightly kicked-under-the-fridge, 12 minute sophomore record Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired,  the band took some time and followed up with Never Hungover Again. To fans’ delight, the record became everyone's (and their damn mother’s) summer record of 2014 within an instant. 2016’s Cody, however? While I personally regard it as the bands most mature and varied record to date, this album didn’t resonate 100% with fans as much as Constant Headache, Joyce Manor, and Never Hungover Again did. While I completely understand that since Cody was not necessarily their most palatable record at first listen, there was a major jump in songwriting and structure quality that I couldn’t have even predicted. Due out September 21, Million Dollars To Kill Me — if anything at all like the title track single and its accompanying video — could be Barry, Matt, Chase, and the guys’ most coordinated and measured record to date.

Million Dollars To Kill Me” has a certain tone to it where influence is shown, but done so much more tastefully than some of their punk-pop contemporaries. The guitars still give off original flavors with band chemistry that even reminds me of ”Leather Jacket” off of their debut; but it’s done so in a way that is coated in Jeff Rosenstock- and Rozwell Kid-esque power pop influence, that it packs a melodic punch that’ll ring throughout my house’s speakers for the next year and a half. The drums are still tight as ever, even if the chair is always changing; Pat Ware, the band’s newest drummer, provides a significantly more “2010’s Warped Tour pop punk”-influenced sound to the table, but in a way that still melds perfectly with what the rest of the band is composing. The band chemistry is as prevalent as ever, and while the songwriting still feels a bit safe, everything that makes Joyce Manor — well, Joyce Manor — is here, and better than ever. But if that will translate into a full 10-track album again? Then, all we can really do is wait until September 21st.

“you wonder how long something can last // pretty sure most people don’t think about that // but who the fuck is laughing now?”

4.2/5

Music Video: https://youtu.be/EN746lwiX_M


The Story So Far confront their older hostile tendencies to “Let It Go”

The Story So Far have had a relatively quiet time in between releases since their 2015 double-edged yet matured self titled record. Late in 2017, we saw the release of the recyclable one-off “Out of It,” which had its instrumental spunk and some new productional flare; it was also the same exact song The Story So Far have written about at least five to ten times over their past three albums (mostly their sophomore effort, which I still can’t seem to wash the taste of out) While I may be in the minority for how I perceive the quality of their records, I still believe that their spunk was stronger than ever on The Story So Far’s best tracks— but also more subtle and wide-opened than ever as well, with lead single “Let It Go” from the band’s upcoming 4th studio record Proper Dose.

The track contains perhaps what is Parker Cannon’s cleanest vocal performance to date, and that’s even taking into consideration their acoustic material. That within itself really makes this track already one of the biggest stylistic progression of their core sound since their inception, but it’s when the lyrics start to unload and the always-intricate instrumentation comes in that everything comes to total fruition. There's a sense of honesty and introspection that calls back to the heart to the earliest Under Soil and Dirt hits like “Roam” and youthful spunk found on “Quicksand”, yet somehow manages to sonically sound more wide-scope than ever. The dual guitar attack, along with Kelen Capener’s punchy bass performance, guides the song smoothly along through a fan-pleasing chorus and through verses carried by Cannon’s most structurally varied lyrics in a long time. The song never really seems to slow itself, as it just gradually moves along until drummer Ryan Torf carries his foundational groove through the end with a foreign but familiar aftertaste. While the song doesn’t floor the listener, it seamlessly presents a powerful piece of melodic pop punk and blends it with more ambient productional tendencies to make a concisely beautiful and properly dosed mid-summer single to hold us over for whatever lies in the upcoming record, out September 21st, through Pure Noise Records

3.75/5

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