Joyce Manor Cody
Published Oct 05, 2016Referring to Joyce Manor as a pop punk band is a misnomer, of sorts. Over the course of their last three full-lengths, though the band have incorporated pop leanings into their music, they've always embraced the punk aspects of their sound to a much greater degree, with breakneck pacing carrying Barry Johnson's strangled wailing. While Cody is still a far cry from mainstream pop punk, with the help of producer Rob Schnapf, Joyce Manor have rounded off a great many of their previous edges to bring forth a tremendously powerful album.
Over the course of ten songs, the four-piece maintain their signature, jangly sound, but it's less dissonant this time around. Johnson's biting, tongue-in-cheek lyrics, which sporadically jump between topics, remain: on highlight "Fake ID," he jumps from the point of view of a lover who disappoints him — by comparing Kanye West to John Steinbeck post-coitus — to the death of a friend. In regards to vocal technique, Johnson has eased up significantly compared to previous work. "Reversing Machine" is one of the rare times he dips into the growling yells that dominated their self-titled record. That being said, Johnson has also greatly improved the overall quality of his clean singing, and it dominates the record, coming off particularly pristine on the acoustic interlude "Do You Really Want To Get Better."
Compositionally, the songs here are some of Joyce Manor's best, having pushed out of their usual minute-and-change timeframe on songs like "Last You Heard of Me" and "Stairs," allowing hooks to sit in the minds of listeners longer and employing a variety of colourful, unpredictable chord changes throughout. Cody is undoubtedly Joyce Manor's strongest effort to date, the apparent result of meticulous revision that has tightened up their sound on all fronts. (Epitaph)