Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ghost Blonde - No Joy

Ghost Blonde

No Joy
Mexican Summer Records.

SCQ Rating: 82%

The ease with which No Joy operate, as a thrashing punk duo bathing in early 90s sonics, belies the durability of their craft. For one thing, there’s enough sweltering feedback here to fuel a thousand attitude-based rock clichés or, equally, the misconception that Laura Lloyd and Jasamine White’s focus settles somewhere in the tall grass of their shoegaze surface. Ghost Blonde proves those assumptions false, its linear pursuits merely a trapdoor to trip listeners into a fuzz-laden cosmos of songs seemingly rapid-paced and drifting all at once.

That tempo paradox is the great hinge in No Joy’s songwriting machine; offsetting their punk-laced guitar stabs with reflective textures and ethereal vocals which blur along a chord’s creases, Lloyd and White support their scathing performances with a delicate, natural ambience. Fed by lush vocal tones and rough guitar-work, ‘Maggie Says I Love You’ ideally captures that nexus between raw musicianship and sound-exploration. All of Ghost Blonde features that execution of melodic punk through soft lens, trimming the guitar of ‘Heedless’ to a blunt rumbling or affixing some echo to the swirling ‘Indigo Child’. None of their clever doctoring is unique in and of itself, perhaps, but No Joy somehow manage to imbed these slow-blooming layers without dulling their riffs. This debut’s thick production, instead of feeling murky, actually extends the daydream qualities of songs like ‘Pacific Pride’ or the title track, where a heavier hand would’ve lost the rhythmic backbone pushing things forward so swimmingly.

Mind you, the whole record would sound like a static wash over a pair of tinny computer speakers - and that’s fair warning for anyone expecting Ghost Blonde to deal in brash dynamics. What’s dramatic and enchanting and oh-so-replayable about No Joy’s scene is its introverted nature slowly revealed; those private triumphs best complimented while strolling through November by one’s lonesome, and defiantly lonesome. Sure, Ghost Blonde's crowning moments feel sustained by a woman’s touch but they're razor-sharp enough to simultaneously question what the hell that even means anymore.

No Joy - Hawaii by youandmeintheecho

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