“Remember Nothing”, the opening track to No Joy’s third full-length record, More Faithful, serves to weed out the unwilling. It’s a palate cleanser designed to set the mood and ensure the listener is at full attention. It doesn’t preface any of the other songs on the record, but opening with such a bold and fast track demands focus and gets the heart rate up. Now we may proceed.
The tone of More Faithful basks in post-apocalyptic sunbathing beauty. The music is still shoegaze-y and sounds like it belongs on the West Coast, but resides on a grittier, not-so-pristine beach — one where post-punk, grunge, and neo-folk kids keep their happiness close to the fold whilst soaking in the sun. Jasamine White-Gluz and Laura Lloyd’s vocals are sweet and airy but backed by punchy quick songs that clock in around three or four minutes. “Burial in Twos” captures all the noise with boisterous, billowing feedback and terrifying, never-ending cymbals. On this seamless track, no reverb is spared.
No Joy’s label Mexican Summer dropped “Hollywood Teeth” as a teaser to this LP, and it feels like a single or a catchy self-contained party. In contrast to previous No Joy releases, More Faithful carries distinctive lyrics that ride along with the music and, as is the case with “Hollywood Teeth”, actually provide direction for the song rather than being buried in the mix. Still, No Joy’s lyrics aren’t at the heart of the songs in terms of content, and that doesn’t change on More Faithful, but it does indicate a more conscious decision to grow the sound of the group and use the voice in a more instrumental sense.
More Faithful is a genre-bending record with explosive yet concentrated sound that stays true to No Joy’s signature shoegaze rock. Getting caught in the dizzying effects of this particular project most readily mimics the band’s direct but conflicted namesake. There’s joy in dream pop, but where there’s sun, there’s shadow. Something is lurking in the dark and wants to rock.
Essential Tracks: “Hollywood Teeth”, “Burial in Twos”, “Corpo Deamon”