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*JOY* - Album Review: Moonboy

18 Apr 2019 // A review by Ben Ruegg
The opening track A Hard Blow Kiss sounds lo-fi and telephony at first. But it quickly opens up to become a sonic landscape of all sorts of frequency. My subwoofer is humming beautifully. The old school synths are coming from both left and right speakers doing all sorts of different things. It’s unique and clever.


This is
*Joy* and their new album Moonboy. This is music used as art and a sonic canvas. From first listen you, you understand this is an album that requires your attention fully. There is just so much going on that you can’t just passively listen.

In the words of *Joy*, "Moonboy is about a boy who utilises the moon as his guide to know that he is in the present world of reality. *JOY* shows us a kaleidoscope of creativity to coincide with his music."

Throughout each track I can hear influences from all over the place. Radiohead’s later albums and Grimes come to mind, with hints of Portishead and New Zealand’s own Gold Medal Famous. It definitely is an electronic album, but it pushes the genre all over the place. Each track is filled with new sounds rhythms that test your ability to find the meter. I like this sort of thing. Like on the track Love Survival I am lost when the bass ostinato comes in. All of a sudden I hear it with the kick drum, and it all makes sense.

Yung Days is a hip-hop driven that has a catchy chorus which will be stuck with you for days. The flow is solid and on point. Then you have tracks like The Tension of Our Intension which has a funk and jungle feel mashed together with a Massive Attack sort of groove and sound. You can tell that Joy appreciates and considers what they put into their music. Songwriting is a craft and knowing how to add and remove elements to make your song interesting and an experience is what makes it fun.

Fall’s Deja Vu is a beautiful track which starts with a voice message. From there we are taken through eastern instruments and melded together with both middle eastern and western melodies. It is a wonderful experience at night with your eyes closed and the cool air surrounding you. All of a sudden, we get a beat that comes in and helps drives us through the song. All the while, the reverb helps create another sonic soundscape.

Yung Steezy returns as a featured artist on A Quiet Mind where he raps about how a stripper works his soul. I didn't quite get the track, but I like his cadence and flow.

In Meaning of Our Life, the music becomes a little softer again while the synth bass still punches you in the face, in a good way. Soft guitar, violins and piano set the scene for a more mellower track.

After listening to the entire album, I wasn’t able to pick up on the theme and how it ties in, but I didn’t mind. This is for me an example of an able that works well on both headphones and a good sound system. Being able to listen to the whole thing from beginning to end is recommended so make sure you take this with you on a long journey.

I would recommend this album to those who would want to listen to something that will require you to really pay attention. As mentioned before, there is a lot going on here but not so much that it is overwhelming. Give it a try. Go in open minded and you will really enjoy what it has to offer.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )
 

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