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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Montreal’s No Joy makes album for itself on ‘Wait to Pleasure’

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    No Joy probably doesn’t like you. After all, the Montreal act gained a local following by putting on a live presentation that did all but include the crowd, refraining from banter and interaction with its audience.

    No Joy is a shoegaze act that sounds as if it was meant to be at home on the California coast. Reverb and droning feedback punctuate both 2010’s Ghost Blonde and its newest release, Wait to Pleasure, out tomorrow.

    While No Joy labels itself as a trio in terms of songwriting and plays as a quartet, at its heart is Jasamine White-Gluz and Laura Lloyd, a pair of blonde, Fender Jazzmaster-wielding musicians whose collective sound is far bigger than that of any waif-like Williamsburg boys in their genre. There’s little that is conventional about No Joy, but that’s also what makes the band work.

    Album opener “E” is a prime example of why the boys should be running for cover. Amid a wall of squealing feedback and a pounding tom-tom rhythm comes a heavily distorted bass line that would sound more at home with a thrash metal band but it serves as an exercise in dynamics when paired up with White-Gluz’s dreamy vocals.

    The band’s approach to vocal production is also atypical, placing it a bit higher in the mix than other shoegaze or dream pop acts like DIIV or Melody’s Echo Chamber. “Slug Night” finds White-Gluz’s intoxicating vocal line layered over a single-string guitar riff rather than embedded in it. It’s here where the shoegaze line begins to fade to gray and the Sonic Youth comparisons start, but No Joy is deserving of such an analogy.

    No Joy doesn’t just plod along on an endless loop of noise. Its sound is so immersive and swaggering that one could almost mosh to it in slow motion, inciting a riot in an Ambien-induced haze.

    “Lizard Kids,” while clocking in at just shy of two and a half minutes, is such a track, breaking into a double-time rhythm, 30 seconds into the song. Where the rest of the album is heavy on the guitar, Lloyd’s playing takes a back seat to make way for punk-styled drums and a chanted vocal line that folds in on itself like an acid trip gone bad.

    Wait to Pleasure is far more polished in its production than the stellar Ghost Blonde, where the grit of a home recorded album served the band well at that time. But, it’s not to say that Wait to Pleasure is too slick. Rather, the follow-up is indicative of No Joy’s evolution from its mixing to its structure. It’s a big album but it’s approachable for even the newest shoegaze fans.

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