Label: Epitaph Records
Released: 10th June 2022
It’s no surprise to see Joyce Manor’s ‘40 oz. to Fresno’ confound expectations at every turn. Opener ‘Souvenir’ – a delightful cover of an Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark hit – clocks in past the three-minute mark – a bona fide epic given Joyce Manor’s svelte approach to storytelling, while ‘You’re Not Famous Anymore’ is an edgy takedown of celebrity culture and public failure. In lesser hands such a number would be snarky and spiteful, but wrapped in Joyce Manor’s preppy pop-punk, it’s a tongue-in-cheek dissection of fame, with the lens trained inwards.
‘Gotta Let It Go’, meanwhile, is a slow-burning mid-paced number, followed up by the album’s sweetest, lightest, moment with ‘Dance With Me’. Of course, like all of Joyce Manor’s finest moment, eccentricities are never too far, and ‘NBTSA’ – or ‘Never Be The Same Again’ tells the story of an alien abduction and the terror of recounting the meeting to your nearest and dearest. It’s the sort of esoteric story Barry Johnson and Joyce Manor excel at, and here there’s eight further perfectly observed vignettes which fit perfectly into their back catalogue.
Remarkably – despite being six albums deep into their career – it proves that Joyce Manor’s purple patch shows little signs of fading. ■ Rob Mair