I discovered No Joy and their debut album Ghost Blonde thanks to a top 2011 list at the very beginning of this year and I was immediately hooked. The band have been getting regular play ever since and have quick become one of my favorites. It comes as no surprise that when I discovered they were releasing a new EP, Negaverse, I was eager to get a taste of it.
What I liked about Ghost Blonde was the fact it was not your stereotypical shoegaze/dream pop, it had a raw edge to it that echoed the old grunge scene of the late 80s and early 90s. Negaverse opens with "Junior" a much more typical shoegaze piece that automatically brings up the sound of the old 90s bands, this is followed by a similar sounding "VHFD", which does have some awesome drum loops layered over its shoegaze sound. Despite these two songs being really good, I was starting to think No Joy had lost that special edge, that they had caved in to the usual shoegaze sound and that Negaverse could be the beginning of the end. Then kicked in "Shame Cave" and the band's sound was once again echoing through my head with much delight, sort off like when Alex is cured at the end of A Clockwork Orange. "Shame Cave" is a fast tempoed heavy raw monster of a song which also includes some keyboards adding a welcoming 80s edge to it all. "Yang Sanpanku" is probably the song that most resembles the tracks from Ghost Blonde with its grunge edge and sludgey overtones. Its a heavy title that sounds like a giant creature slowly crushing up a Japanese city. The final song, "Smiley Face" is another grungy masterpiece which picks the pace up again and also includes some electro drums loops to add to the whole eeriness.
Negaverse is sort of like a bad dream in the fact that its songs are haunting and send the listener into a kind of trance from which they do not want to wake. Negaverse also shows No Joy's diversity and shows that the band can evolve in various directions if they choose to, which path they will take has yet to be determined but which ever it is, I'm pretty sure the girls have a couple more outstanding releases in stock.
F. Declercq 26/06/12
3. Shame Cave
4. Yang Sanpanku
5. Smiley Face