New York-based electro-pop quintet Joywave have returned off the back of a couple EPs and mixtapes to deliver their debut full-length How Do You Feel Now?. Crammed with all the essential ingredients for a stereotypical UK summer release, Joywave have ensured that a variety of genres blend and weave within one another with minimal interference.
Lead vocalist Daniel Armbruster’s melodic compositions are every major record label’s dream. ‘Somebody New’ holds a ‘90s rock spirit combined with a pop hook of the highest calibre. Joywave have fostered this hybrid characteristic and it can be heard throughout the album through a mixture of styles. Fusing childish melodies with alternative club vibes may be tricky for some to grasp, but ‘Tongues’ – which features New York neighbours Kopps – is nothing worth turning your nose up at. A neat cross-breed of catchy vocals with a sizable beat, treading cautiously close to cheesy inadequacy it cleverly veers away from such potency.
The simplicity of the electronic, punchy, bedrock sound, gives permission for Joywave to include other instrumentation at their disposal. Frequent jabs of both bass and guitar parts allow the album to drift further away from being just a digital dominated affair. However, this computerised creation tends to be used to the best of its ability. Fuzzy and bass heavy, How Do You Feel Now? contains a high level of indie authority similar to the likes of Bloc Party and Bombay Bicycle Club. Upbeat Balearic-induced tempos with gliding vocal notes show there are more sides to this group than anticipated. The ultra-smooth ‘Traveling at the Speed of Light’ reveals a more mature aspect of the Rochester band. Sophisticated and full of psychedelic wealth it twists and turns, rejuvenating itself along the way into a spacey seven minute trip.
Concluding the album in a compelling manner, a unified chant similar to The Omen’s famous and unsettling ‘Ave Satani’, leaves a disconcerting notion that Joywave can not only muster up sugary synth-pop gems, they can also produce dark, sadistic songs with epic consequences. Armbruster calmly croons “don't you worry what change brings” amidst the piercing, confrontational Latin style backing vocals that manufactures nothing short of sheer stylistic havoc.
With an array of pungent pick ‘n’ mix musical styles within the album, How Do You Feel Now? is a well catered for debut. Absorbing and witty, yet straightforward enough to inherit the “Next Big Thing” title, Joywave have created a monster.