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Joyce Manor – Never Hungover Again | Album Review

Joyce Manor’s third album is their first for Epitaph Records. Find out what we thought of it here.

Credit: Album Cover

There was a certain amount of trepidation when it was announced that Joyce Manor had signed to Epitaph Records to release their third album ‘Never Hungover Again’. It was a huge step forward for the band, but also left a lot of people hoping they wouldn’t lose what had made them so special in the first place.

For those unfamiliar, Joyce Manor write short songs. They are the musical equivalent of Mo Farah, trim, lean, with no superfluous bits. Plus they’re great dads, with relatable life stories and sagely advice. The band tore through the nine tracks on 2012’s sophomore effort ‘Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired‘ in 14 minutes – a burst of pop punk perfection and emotion. They write songs that will never leave you thinking ‘that extra verse was a little unnecessary’, ‘they’ve repeated that chorus a few too many times’ or ‘that didn’t add anything to the song.’ You’ve never heard a band like Joyce Manor before.

Christmas Card’ is a great introduction to their unique sound, proving how they can write a song that’s short but fully formed. It’s the Joyce Manor version of midpaced, with Barry Johnson’s trademark impassioned vocals, which are less of a yell than they have been before. That’s not to say things have been toned down, there’s still plenty of dirt in the vocals when needed, like in ‘Catalina Fight Song’. It’s a continuation of the development that started on ‘Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired’, with the band gaining from those experiments.

Falling in Love’ hits the perfect balance between sadness and sing-a-long greatness. It’s an earworm with hook laden verses that will stick with you right from the first listen. ‘End of the Summer’ sounds like it could have been penned by a young Rivers Cuomo, while the backing vocals are reminiscent of the band’s own ‘Beach Community’ from their self-titled debut – the sort of loose backing vocals that just beg to be yelled along with.

Schley’ is a stand out track with some great lyrics (‘Like old friends/Who’d never ask/”How can you be happy when you wear all black?”’), while ‘In The Army Now’ sees Barry Johnson sounding a little like Morrissey, even down to the levels of sorrow. ‘Catalina Fight Song’ is the quintessential Joyce Manor track, a minute long burst of rage and regret that is sure to please the first album fans.

‘Never Hungover Again’ is a perfect album, precisely put together. It flows from start to finish, sure to leave you hitting repeat.

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