Few Albums Will Better Encapsulate a Band So well as Joyce Manor’s Latest
SoCal punk band Joyce Manor return to with their 7th full length album, 40 oz. to Fresno a not-so-subtle reference to Sublime’s classic 1992 debut LP 40 oz. to Freedom.
On this record, Joyce Manor make no mistake in the band they are. 9 songs in 16 minutes. I don’t think there’s a better way to start discussing Joyce Manor than to focus on that. No filler, none needed.
I’m listening to the album as I write this and I’m already 3, almost 4 tracks in and haven’t even finished the introduction. I’ll probably listen through this 5 or 6 times before I’m done writing, and I’m not mad. It’s really an excellent album track-for-track.
Kicking off the album is something a bit unexpected. When I first heard this I immediately knew I already knew that riff and as soon as Barry begins singing the first verse, it’s immediately clear that “Souvenir” isn’t just a common potential name for a new song, but in fact a cover of OMD’s 1981 single from Architecture and Morality. And done either way, this song still slaps. Trade the synth from the original for a fuzzy guitar riff, it works just as well for modern day punk as it did for new wave 40 years ago. An interesting way to start the album with, but it certainly does work.
A single originally released a few years ago now comes to this album and it pretty much rules.
#3 “reason to Believe”
This track is maybe the most underrated on the album in my brain. I’m more immediately attracted to a couple other songs that really stand out, but this song has a great hooky chorus and riff and is the more pop-sensible end of the pop-punkish sound you’ll hear on this album.
#4 “You’re Not Famous Anymore”
Definitely the funniest song on the album lyrically, it’s a fairly sharp rebuke of the rise and falls of a so-called “child star.”
#5 “Don’t Try”
If this is maybe the most forgettable song on the album, I think that’s a good thing. It has two choppy-sung verses, a tight bridge, and a chorus with some more personal lyrics. Oh, and it’s only 1:40. Pretty much hits the perfect formula for a Joyce Manor song, even if it doesn’t blow me away.
#6 “Gotta Let It Go”
This starts my favorite run of tracks on the album. A single, “Gotta Let It Go” has the perfect blend of punk attitude, straight-up guitars and hefty rhythm, wrapped up in a tight, fun song so perfect an example of the best this band has to offer.
#7 “Dance With Me”
My sleeper favorite song from the album. “Dance With Me” is an awesome pop-punk song with fun, silly lyrics, excellent rhythms and a hook with an earworm chorus.
#8 “Did You Ever Know?”
This song reminds me of 90s alternative. I’m not sure exactly what group. Maybe a little Weezer in here I think, but about as quick as you can get at 1:29, then onto the next.
#9 “Secret Sisters”
Another great ending track to the album. Fuzzier sounding and a bit more punk than some other tracks on this record, but another awesome example of the seminal sound that Joyce Manor creates in the best of their discography.
Suffice it to say, this is an album that I will continue to keep on listening to. If only for the fact I will forget I’ve listened to it three times through before realizing that it’s simply repeating over and over.
Follow Joyce Manor on tour this summer here.