No Joy doesn’t need your approval
Drool Sucker is a three song EP recorded in a barn in rural Ontario. It wouldn’t be a surprise if minor earthquakes were registered in the area at the time of the recording. It’s the first in a series of EPs to be released by Canada’s No Joy (via Topshelf Records) in lieu of a full length album. When the band released their critically acclaimed debut LP Ghost Blonde in 2009, they were initially classified as “shoegaze revival”, but with each new project they have managed to evolve their sound and dodge the genre tags that critics have tried to make stick. The only thing that seems undeniable about No Joy is that the quartet loves raging, distorted guitars and wispy female vocals. That’s basically what Drool Sucker is made of.
As individual songs, the tracks on Drool Sucker (totaling about 10 minutes of music) contain all of the raw, seismic power that No Joy is always a threat to unleash. Singer Jasmine White-Gluz’s ethereal voice careens around her register, mingling with other white hot instruments. There is no place for articulation in this band: on occasion, a fully-formed word or phrase will spring forward, only to be yanked back and swallowed by the cacophonous din. Yet despite this smothering effect, the tracks on Drool Sucker remain highly listenable, in part due to surprisingly cool sections within “XO (Adam’s Getting Married)” and “Theme Song”. There’s also the constant suggestion, inherent to most No Joy tracks, of some profound feeling trying to wriggle its way upward into open air. It’s this quality that makes their music so engaging. Unsurprisingly, the carrier is often White-Gluz’s voice, which traffics in mood rather than language.
A press release from Topshelf Records explained that this series of EPs is intended as a “fuck you” to the music industry, “To everyone who told them they need to play quieter, needed to show their faces more onstage, who told them they should only include the girls in the press photos; pigeonholing No Joy won’t make them any easier to understand.” A strong mission statement, but as the first installment, Drool Sucker is certainly effective.