Quality Over Quantity
One could argue that almost every melody, lyric, and emotion that can be musically conveyed has been written a few hundred times over at this point. Taking the same palette of twelve keys, the same human tragedy, and finding a way to say it originally and convincingly is a feat accomplished by very few. Brooklyn “laptop-rocker” Joemca and The Poets have accepted the challenge; their five-song self-titled EP is their concise argument that heartfelt musical expression always has something worthwhile to say.Totaling just under 20 minutes, the brevity of Joemca’s first studio release is curious at first. Upon getting acquainted with these five emotionally charged vignettes of sorrow and strife, one realizes that 20 minutes is enough time for Joemca to get his point across. Drawing upon a layered alt-rock sonic tapestry not unlike Amnesiac-era Radiohead, the Joemca(Jum+ka)EP delivers a brooding yet comforting excursion into Joemcaâ€šÃ„Ã´s tortured mind. He starts this exploration with the heavy, antique drum machine beats on â€šÃ„ÃºWay With Words,â€šÃ„Ã¹ after which his low-fi symphony joins the march for the remainder of the release. â€šÃ„ÃºThe Debt We All Must Payâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and â€šÃ„ÃºThe Patternâ€šÃ„Ã¹ drive Joemcaâ€šÃ„Ã´s vocal chords though a sinewy back road until â€šÃ„ÃºThe Best Circumstancesâ€šÃ„Ã¹ optimistically, if not abruptly, ends the trip. The intricately woven piano and dynamic progression of â€šÃ„ÃºKing Rhetoricâ€šÃ„Ã¹ makes for the EPâ€šÃ„Ã´s highlight, perhaps due to what itâ€šÃ„Ã´s missing as much as what it has. At times, Joemca seems to pour so much of his heart into the microphone that it can get a bit overbearing and uncomfortable, rendering everything else in its wake a subdued canvas for his lyrical plight.
Joemca ends up walking a difficult ground in the already saturated alt-tronica landscape. Thereâ€šÃ„Ã´s not much production complexity to excite the glitchophiles, yet melodically there is an absence of originality to grip the listenerâ€šÃ„Ã´s intrigue beyond a few rotations. No one could impugn the authenticity of the emotion behind Joemcaâ€šÃ„Ã´s music, though even the most sympathetic listeners can only hear the same sorrows so many times.