To say I was excited for Joyce Manor’s latest offering would probably be an understatement. I’ve been a big fan of them for the past couple of years, since ‘Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired’ was released on Big Scary Monsters. Having enjoyed previously leaked songs ‘Schley’ and ‘Catalina Fight Song’ I was eager to get started on the rest of the album.
However, opening track ‘Christmas Card’ was a bit of a damp squib. It was generic pop punk song, and poor by Joyce Manor standards. I was a little bit disappointed, and following track ‘Falling in Love Again’ didn’t do much to improve my opinion. I liked the songs, but I was hoping for much more.
And then ‘End of the Summer’ started, and I got what I asked for. There are similarities to Tigers Jaw and Dads, and the song is so catchy you’ll find it hard not to nod along. ‘Victoria’ then franticly picks up the pace, and you’ll find yourself needed a break from the mayhem after only 100 seconds, and ‘Schley’ does this perfectly.
The album then goes from strength to strength. The tongue-in-cheek ‘Heart Tattoo’ and the brilliant ‘The Jerk’ are Joyce Manor at their best; chaotic pop punk, but there is definitely method in the madness. I think the closest comparison I can make is to Mylets, but influences like Braid and Basement come through strong.
By the time ‘Catalina Fight Song’ rolls around I’ve completely forgotten about my earlier disappointment, and I’m loving the album. Closing track ‘Heated Swimming Pool’ is low-key, but a perfect closing track.
Clocking in at under 20 minutes, Never Hungover Again may already be my most listened to album of 2014. I definitely recommend listening to the album on repeat as the weaker opening tracks work perfectly fine as a bit of mid-album lag, and I’ve started to feel I may have been overly harsh on them. Rather than produce another messy pop punk album, Joyce Manor have progressed towards that “emo revival” tag they’ve often been unfairly labelled with, and it’s excellent.
– Alex Ryan