In a year with so many phenomenal releases, the Montreal trio, No Joy, have given us 14 extra special reasons to appreciate 2013. In April they released one of the years’ greatest, most ripping full-lengths: the wonderfully assured, eleven-song album Wait to Pleasure. Three more killer songs followed in November on the addictive 12” Pastel and Pass Out, released coincidentally as the band captivated Europe on tour.
Their sound on these two releases on the Mexican Summer label is distinctive and super fresh, and is also thick with delicious influences. Most apparently the band honors the brilliance of the best 80s and 90s shoegaze exports – touches of Ireland’s My Bloody Valentine and the gorgeous hum of England’s Lush are easy to spot. Like the band MBV, No Joy constructs sonic walls that feature muscular, rhythmic bricks held together with a sweet mortar of swirling fuzz. Streaked through the songs, and less obvious, are the influences of 80s and 90s New England: Particularly present on the full length Wait to Pleasure are the cryptic lyrical echoes and driving jangles of the great Throwing Muses, while No Joy also lays down the effortless power of the Pixies (without the yelling).
A big part of their appeal is their ability to vary styles. When they are not sending open chords through chain saw effects, No Joy can even display soft, sunny, and breezy beach sounds with songs like this one …
From Wait to Pleasure (2013) – No Joy: Wrack Attack
Like a perfect cup of coffee, (even if you drink a lot of coffee, and almost all of it is really good, sometimes you get a cup that does something special and leaves you smiling and shaking your head in gratified disbelief,) this song Starchild is Dead strikes me as an almost impossibly great cup – different nuances of flavor sparkle here and there, and once you’ve taken that first wonderful sip you feel alert and ready to do just about anything.
From Pastel and Pass Out (2013) – No Joy: Starchild is Dead