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Album Review: Cody by Joyce Manor

Acclaimed Californian band Joyce Manor release their new album Cody via Epitaph on 7th October. Following up 2014’s critically-lauded record Never Hungover Again, this marks a growth and overall improvement to the band’s sound.

While retaining all the emotional power of previous releases, this is the mark of the band looking to the future and creating their best album to date. It’s more measured and assured, generally feeling like the band has taken a little more care and attention. As the band’s guitarist and singer Barry Johnson explains, “It was the first time we really used the studio to our advantage. I felt like I could get a better grasp on what we could do. We always recorded like a punk band—go in and lay ‘em down! Just get good takes! And this time we tried a lot more.”

Four albums in and Joyce Manor might just have created their most instantly enjoyable and delightful album. It’s so starkly natural and humble that you can’t help but fall in love. Straight from the opening chords of ‘Fake ID’ you know that Cody is going to be something special. All ten tracks are superb slices of pop heavy punk.

joyce_manor_credit_dan_monick

Sure it doesn’t break the mould, but it does hook laden punk incredibly well. Songs like ‘Make Me Dumb’, ‘Angel in the Snow’, ‘Last You Heard of Me’ and ‘Stairs’ could easily be considered four of the best album tracks released in 2016. The former has a hook that suckers you in and a chorus that begs you to sing along. The latter has to be singled out for praise for how good it is, self-critical and dealing with the frustration of life it’s immediately relatable and endearing.

Joyce Manor make quite the leap in quality with Cody yet it feels like a natural progression. Quieter tracks like ‘Over Before It Began’ and ‘Do You Really Want to Get Better’ have the potential help the band explode into the rock mainstream, while older fans will be appeased by punk aggression underpinning ‘Reversing Machine’ bridging the gap between the sound of old and this bigger more ambitious sound. Joyce Manor retain their penchant for a short and snappy album (this one comes in at just under 25 minutes), but this will surely be the moment that they move from punk’s second tier to punk / pop rock leaders.

AD Rating 8.5/10

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