Friday, April 20, 2012

Joyce Manor - Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired

Joyce Manor's sophomore effort, Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired, runs 9 tracks and 13 minutes long. That means individual songs on Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired average just under 90 seconds in length. It takes longer to finally get it in your head that the album title isn't "All Things I Will Grow Tired of Soon" than it does to listen to Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired. (And when I say that about you, I'm really just talking about me).

The short playtime of the album does kind of bring up the question "isn't this just an EP?" but this is punk rock here so that part doesn't bug me too much. Joyce Manor has always had a minimalist-like approach to almost everything, so it's no surprise that they would continue to bring very little to the table. Even the album's artwork (which even has an homage to the Germs, if I'm not mistaken) takes an uncomplicated approach- this is all stuff that's very appealing these days when the scene is overrun by lots of bright colors and fancy fonts.

I read somewhere that the band made a self-prophesy that Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired would be their Pinkerton: a record that is initially misunderstood by the masses and accepted as a classic over time. I think that's a little cocky, but who I am to say that it won't happen? It's definitely short enough that it can be listened to multiple times in a row without getting sick of it, but there's still something about it that makes me unsure about it overall. Given that the songs barely run for longer than 2 minutes, sometimes the songs will end before really leaving an impact. That might be a problem resolved with a few listens, although whereas an album like Pinkerton has a lot going not only in the songs, but also in the intros and outros, the songs on Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired all start and end without any kind of build up of epic proportions.

Arguably he most interesting track to discuss is the cover of Video Killed the Radio Star, which is stuck in the dead center of the album. Rather than playing it safe and remaining faithful to the original, Joyce Manor completely deconstructed the chorus. Think about that for a second. Deconstructed the chorus to an 80's pop song. Not just any 80's pop song, but one that is pretty well recognized. You've gotta have balls to do something like that, so kudos to Joyce Manor.

Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired is not a bad album at all. I like it, but there's still something a little alienating about it to me. Maybe I just "don't get it" and I won't for a few more years, but when an album is this short I don't think there's a whole lot to "get". There are acoustic songs (Drainage, I'm Always Tired), electric songs (the other seven), some songs are good (See How Tame I Can Be), while others are really good (If I Needed You There). Maybe in 2017, I'll listen to Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired again and it will seem like a masterpiece, but for the time being I think it's just another solid release from Joyce Manor that fits in well with the rest of their output.

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