[sic] Magazine

No Joy – More Faithful

No Joy’s new LP is a record of contrasts, a series of balancing acts alongside their trademark shoegaze abrasion and its fragile accord with the beautiful harmonies of singer Jasamine White-Gluz and guitarist Laura Lloyd’s dream-pop washes. Such is the gulf between the two now, however, that they often sit on the separate pedestals of dream and nightmare. At one end of the spectrum you have a track like “Moon In My Mouth”, a sultry twinkle set beneath silky stereo-shifting and heavy breathing and, at the other, the red-lining feedback and pedal fuzz of “Remember Nothing”, sharking guitars biting at your ankles as that dreamy vocal transcends the mire.

There’s always a risk though that the pitting of black against white can result in grey and so it proves in places despite the best efforts of producer and Ariel Pink-collaborator Jorge Elbrecht. Under his occasionally hands-on tutelage the Montreal duo play with darkness and light, too, and No Joy frequently reveal themselves to be able creatures of both worlds. The ever-intesifying “Burial In Twos”, is, for example, one of a number of tracks that blends surging dischord with an otherwise well-manicured landscape – a neat alternative to linear sequences of heavy-calibre drumming, fragrant smother and/or ethereal sighs. Also noteworthy in this vein is “Rude Films” on which traditional ‘gazing trimmings sit on top of a thudding beat, though in truth it’s an experiment that comes off more as a curious remix than an essential LP ingredient.

As proficient as the girls are in pushing the boundaries of two genres simuleneously their most powerful work tends also to be their most straightforward. The blurred streaks of the rather decent “Corpo Daemon” race like retro rockers Cheatahs and the static fizz, wailing guitar and angelic cooing of “Chalk Snake” recall the best slo-mo crunches of Medicine. Exception to the rule, the half-remembered daydream “I Am An Eye Machine”– part ambient bliss, part mournful drone – coalesces just enough to become an unintelligible celebration-cum-wall of muffled sound. With its varied content and break-neck pivots More Faithful is an album on which you can practically hear the crossings-out of aborted ideas and compositional cul-de-sacs, but one that’s probably made all the richer for them.

Best track: “Remember Nothing”

~More Faithful is released June 8th 2015 via Mexican Summer.~