Never Hungover Again
22 July 2014 (Epitaph Records)
By Joe DeBonis
The simple assertion that songs have to be a certain length of time to be relevant is really brought into question with this album and by Joyce Manor in general as this is their third release that they have disregarded the norm of what an “album” truly is. They have succeeded in creating a masterpiece in under twenty minutes (19:01 to be exact) as they follow the same formula from their two previous albums by sprinting through ten tracks at a break neck speed of emo/ pop punk brilliance. Never making things more complicated than they need to be, the band seems to have one goal, and that is to see who will finish first.
Sometimes it becomes frustrating how short Joyce Manor’s attention span with their own songs is. There is just so much potential oozing from each song that it feels as if each song should be at least three times as long. Right as the song starts to get nice and juicy the band has already started and almost finished the next. It’s not a normal tactic to take with music, yet doing it with emo music really lends itself to a more welcoming scenario. Not a song eclipses two and a half minutes yet as unfulfilled as one can feel after a Joyce Manor song, it can never be said they didn’t say all the needed to or wanted to in the time they gave themselves.
It honestly really shouldn’t take too long to talk about love, loss and everything as deep as that when the whole attitude of the genre is a kind of “fuck everything” mentality. Especially if none of those things really seem as important as they normally should to the people saying them. Each track has just enough of Barry Johnson barking, whining and basically blasting his way through topics as hard to swallow as losing a love (to the army… or to something more?), falling in love again, and getting another tattoo so quickly by the end of two minutes the whole issue seems resolved, or at the very least forgotten as the next problem starts right where the last track left off. From the very first chord of “Christmas Card,” it is apparent the band has things to say, but not an inkling of interest in overwhelming, inundating and suffocating the listener with an abundance of repetitive topics and lyrics. Whether there is deeper meaning to be drawn from each song is another issue entirely, the point is, these sometimes difficult issues are cut to the bare minimum in such a way this album is one of the most accessible in pop punk’s recent history but also one of its most difficult to approach.
Short songs are a fun idea on paper, but listening through this album once and not being able to sing back a single chorus because there frankly are none can be a little off putting to fans of a music that need their Fall Out Boy and Taking Back Sunday like anthems. On the other hand, in the same span of time it would take to ingest one of the heavy weight’s albums you could listen to a Joyce Manor record three to four times over, it all begins to become a little more reasonable. There is honestly a time where focusing on huge emotional topics can be relevant and appropriate. On a Joyce Manor record, there is no place for that, and that’s the point. The “fuck everything” mentality is taken to a whole other realm with the length of songs, lack of meat to the lyrics and ambiguity with each and every song topic. God damn it all though, why would this band be so intriguing if they didn’t do every one of those exact things?
Rating: Loved It