Joyce Manor’s taste for throwing down even the briefest outline of a song on their sophomore album almost makes them come off like the pop punk Guided By Voices. This also puts the album into a weird flow. At nine songs in thirteen minutes, there are some real choice bits, like the succinct punk nuggets, “Comfortable Clothes” and “If I Needed You There.” There’s also the distinct-sounding “See How Tame I Can Be?” (which seemingly stole its rhythm section from a new wave band) and the janglier excursion “Bride of Usher” that change things up a bit. The couple of oddly recorded acoustic songs, “Drainage” and “I’m Always Tired,” though come off as filler on such a short album. Seeing as they sound like incomplete demos or song ideas put on to bump this just barely into LP runtime, they give the proceedings a weird odds and sods feel rather than that of a coherent album. After all, I don’t think Group Sex would work quite as well if it had a couple songs that sound like Keith Morris about to fall asleep with a tape recorder on plopped into the album. Plus the singer sounds way too tired and sort of annoyingly apathetic when he’s acoustic. He needs the balance of driving music, which makes his vocals work. Otherwise, he starts to sound like that one person who gets irritating due to how jaded they are since they have seen/done/experienced more than you can imagine (cough cough, the title of this album). All said, there is a really good EP present on here, as these guys really have the whole rapid-fire punk thing down when their running at full steam. Side-note, there’s also a cover of “Video Killed the Radio Star” on here that’s much raggedier and faster than the Presidents Of The United States version, but just as charming in its own way (though the original Buggles version still owns my heart).
–Adrian Salas (Asian Man, [email protected])