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Album Review

Joyce Manor – Cody


The result of a band constantly hitting their peak.

Label: Epitaph
Released: 7th October 2016

Rating: ★★★★

It’s easy to forget that Joyce Manor are on their fourth record in five years when it feels as though the Torrance, CA Morrissey-punks just showed up ten minutes ago to change everything. Having been on a huge trajectory since the release of their self-titled debut in 2011, ‘Cody’ is, perhaps surprisingly, their least punk record.

It’s accessible, refined, and more ‘produced’ than earlier records – phrases that are usually applied detrimentally – but it serves to show their continued growth as songwriters that all of these things are true and yet ‘Cody’ is utterly, completely perfect.

No strangers to doing more with less, songs are stripped back in a way that allows you to feel everything in detail. A soft focus on the moments that seem so insignificant, from the love/hate conversations about Kanye West in the recklessly catchy and sharply-timed ‘Fake I.D.’ to the subtle realisations in ‘Eighteen’ – “I get so tongue-tied / I feel so old today.”

The dreamy chords and aching vocals that turned your insides out on the best bits of 2014’s ‘Never Hungover Again’ are well-represented, with ‘Angel In The Snow’, and the 90’s slacker-indie love song ‘Last You Heard Of Me’. The clean intro of ‘Stairs’ leads into four minutes of heartfelt devotion and lyrical intensity followed by the devastating ‘This Song Is A Mess But So Am I’.

Sure, no-one listens to Joyce Manor expecting anything longer than 120 seconds at a time, but whilst the chaos and instant hit of earlier records are traded out, the builds are no less satisfying. Recognisable and distinctive without ever writing the same song twice, without having one ‘difficult’ record that doesn’t quite connect, ‘Cody’ is the logical result of a band constantly hitting their peak. Kristy Diaz