Blessed be this day. Joyce Manor is back with their third full-length Never Hungover Again – an impressive balance between slower, more melodic songs, and the expected quick-beat sing-a-longs fans look forward to.
Opening track “Christmas Card” introduces us to vocalist Barry Johnson’s softer sound, reminiscent of Morrissey, which pairs wonderfully with the melancholy tone of the song. But as quickly as we’re introduced to this new sound, “Falling in Love Again” brings back his intense shouts we’re all used to. Switching between these styles throughout the album gives it a deeper, fuller sound compared to previous releases.
The lyrical content is what you would expect from these guys – an emotional blend of wit, hurtful truths, and imagery that will bring that certain someone you wish to forget creeping back into your head. Ah, nostalgia… The up-beat tempos used in driving tracks like “Victoria” and “The Jerk” help to hide some of the pain, but any Joyce Manor fan knows what you find when you dig beneath the instrumental layers.
While it is clear that signing to a larger label has had some influence on their sound, resulting in a more mature and focused album, there is still angst in the lyrics and fire behind Johnson’s tongue. Combining classic punk chords with gloomy 1980’s-esque melodies sprinkled in (check out “In the Army Now”), this album is quickly becoming one of my favorite releases of the summer.
Like their other two full-lengths, Never Hungover Again feels as though it ends and quickly as it begins. But despite the album being only twenty minutes in length, these guys have a way of leaving you completely satisfied afterwards, never pushing any of their albums longer than necessary to get their point across.
Be sure to come out to The Bottom Lounge this September when they swing through Chicago with The Exquisites and Meat Wave. More information here.