‘In The Army Now’ by Joyce Manor
From the album Never Hungover Again (2014)
Sat on the bus this morning I was treated to the Status Quo song of the same name pumping out of the crappy radio like a dying dog trying to hump a table leg for the very last time. I’m reasonably sure I had never heard that song before and if you haven’t heard it please do not bother, it is just genuinely poor. On the other hand, Joyce Manor’s ‘In The Army Now’, from their critically–lauded 2014 album Never Hungover Again is everything that the Quo song isn’t – punchy, exciting, emotional, raw and (almost) relatable.
Joyce Manor’s sound sits somewhere between punk throwback and what some less well-informed music hacks are calling ‘the emo revival’. What you’re looking for here is a prominent bass line (check), guitars that are distorted but not totally awash with it (check), solid yet frenetic drums (check), vocals that sound like they have been lightly warmed over some rusty razor blades, but in a good way (check) and overall brevity (check, I’ve taken pisses longer than this song). The bass really is the highlight of this song. The lines aren’t complicated in the slightest but the sound of the instrument on this track is just amazing, when I hear it I can see a bass being played in slow motion and the individual strings vibrating as they are struck. That’s weird, I know, but for me it’s a powerful image.
The one downside to Joyce Manor is that they are not very good live. I saw them late last year in an upstairs room of a weird pub somewhere in North London and they were just average. You can’t put on an average live show if you are a punk band, it just doesn’t work. I could be wrong though and you can prove it by going to see them next month and telling me about it, they play Bush Hall on May 13th.