Essential New Music: No Joy’s “More Faithful”

NoJoy

No Joy was more or less a shoegaze revivalist when it got started, and so far, the band’s progression from that point has gone pretty much as scripted. Its 2011 debut, Ghost Blonde, swam in thick layers of reverb, and as the group became more comfortable with not hiding behind delay pedals, it made a much cleaner-sounding sophomore album in Wait To Pleasure. Both records were enough to justify keeping No Joy on your radar, but the band has blown the doors open on More Faithful.

Most dream-pop groups get a little less dreamy and more poppy over time. That’s been true of No Joy to a point, but the Canadian outfit has also gotten trickier. The genre’s sonic touchstones are still mostly intact here, but More Faithful is full of unexpected turns—like “Hollywood Teeth,” which shifts from bright and glimmering to panicked and urgent in an instant, but somehow the change isn’t jarring. There’s subtle sneakiness sprinkled throughout the record, like the rhythmically wonky “Moon In My Mouth,” as the members of No Joy have graduated from revivalists to deconstructionists.

—Matt Sullivan