Thrash Hits

July 15th, 2014

Album: Joyce Manor – Never Hungover Again

Joyce Manor 2014 promo photo Thrash Hits

Joyce Manor
Never Hungover Again
Epitaph Records
21 July 2014

by Alex Andrews

Joyce Manor’s last EP Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired was a curious record. Although nine songs long, it lasted just 13 minutes and felt more like a collection of B-sides than a follow-up to their shit-hot debut. But what was most intriguing was that it allowed the band to explore new territories, like 90s skate punk and wistful indie pop, while developing their identity.

Joyce Manor Never Hungover Again album cover artwork packshot Thrash Hits

Two years later, the band are still incapable of breaking the 20-minute barrier, but they’ve delivered a solid and sometimes surprising album that you can really get your teeth stuck into. Building upon the ideas found on OATIWSGT, the brevity and emotional intensity that made the band such an exciting prospect is still here, but it feels like they’re either too young, too impatient or that they’re just having too much fun to work out what kind of band they want to be.

Thankfully, the band’s move to Epitaph seems to have been without compromise. Although slightly calmer sounding (Barry Johnson rarely strains his voice above a croon), Never Hungover Again is just as rugged as the band’s early recordings and one that sounds equally detached from current trends.

‘Heart Tattoo’ is easily the band’s poppiest song to date, but it sounds more like a nostalgic homage to bands like Blink-182 than an attempt to write a hit.  Similarly, in what might another deliberate reference, the riff in ‘Victoria’ sounds a lot like NOFX’s ‘Monosyllabic Girl’, which came out on Epitaph almost 20 years ago.

But there’s a lot more to Joyce Manor than ideas that have could’ve been lifted from Punk-O-Rama compilations. You also get Weezer-sized hooks, jangly guitars and maudlin melodies that tug on the heartstrings. For a lesser band, this scattergun approach to songwriting could be a deal breaker, but when you’re Joyce Manor, it feels fresh, spontaneous and keeps you coming back for more.

5/6

Sounds Like: Weezer, Smoking Popes, Modern Baseball (kind of).
Standout Tracks: The Jerk, End Of The Summer, Heart Tattoo.

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