Congratulations are in order for Joywave. Their sophomore album Content not only continues their evolution as independent pop/rock mainstays, it attempts to define the genre itself.
Content is essentially a concept album that questions the validity of everyday struggles we face in the modern world. It begins with the titular song “Content.” The song gently leads you in with low pulsing drums and soft chords but hits hard when the time is right. The message is simple but poignant; what is the difference between true artistic human content and computer algorithms that can mimic the human mind? The song fades into the ether and flows in to “Shutdown.”
It seems that “Shutdown” is the answer to how to sift between the real and computerized world of content. Its music is simple without being boring, an eclectic mix of hard hitting drums, guitar chords, and electronic overtones. It is upbeat and happy with a clear message.
Joywave shows their musical dexterity with “It’s a Trip.” A funky guitar lick intro leads into the perfect combination of traditional rock and electronic effects. The spoken word bridge progresses to clean vocals that pressurizes the energy of the song.
That energy is released on the next track “Rumors.” Deep bass and stark chords are perfectly juxtaposed with background instruments like harps and live clapping. The end of the song features a strong guitar and harsh chords.
After the energy of “Rumors,” we are treated to a full stop before heading in to the quiet “Confidence.” It is the shortest song on the album and is accompanied by a live piano to exemplify how scarce confidence is as a commodity in our modern world.
The break in energy is short lived as the hard hitting and dissonant “Doubt” follows. A great chord progression of guitar voices and a running bass line set a great foundation for the song, while the eerie electronic synthesizer makes you uncomfortable as it plays over top.
“Going to a Place” is a lyrical masterpiece that matches it’s musical tone perfectly. Listen for the tone shift halfway through the song. It is perfect.
“Little Lies You Told” features an angry voice modulation that personifies the let down of catching someone in their deception.
“When You’re Bored” has a running melody and disjointed background music but still maintains its structure.
When “Thanks, Thanks for Coming” begins with its background crowd dialogue you are reminded of bands like M83 that expertly utilize nontraditional audio to move the message of the song. When you get to the breakdown in the middle of the song you will be left wishing the song was longer.
Finally, “Let’s Talk About Feelings” allows Joywave to flex its muscles as true musicians once again. The piano melody mixed with jazz drums (and again the background conversations) blend perfectly with its unique chord progressions.
The wide range of tones experienced during Content prove that, just like its final song, feelings are on the menu. And it is delicious.
Content is now available for purchase.
Joywave is currently touring with Young the Giant and Cold War Kids. The tour swings through Santa Barbara with a stop at the Bowl on August 25th. For tickets, click here.