Stop trying to define No Joy. In 6 years the noisy Montreal quartet has released a compelling and critically acclaimed discography and shared the stage with some of this decade’s most influential acts. Yet no one can quite figure this band out.
Tagging No Joy as “shimmery infectious dream pop” doesn’t work since the band’s live shows are so brutal that it has them sharing the stage with bands like Deafheaven and Fucked Up. Classifying them as “doom shoegaze” doesn’t work either since the band has created records so complex and sonically mature they transcend genres. Nostalgic yet new, loud yet quiet; No Joy’s conflicting reputation cannot be classified because it’s in constant evolution.
This year, No Joy will be releasing a series of EPs as a creative Fuck You: 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. This is no stopgap; this is a series of statements from a band that clearly are trying to defy definition. The Drool Sucker EP (July 15, 2016 via Topshelf Records) is the first of the series.
Drool Sucker was recorded quickly in a barn in rural Ontario with Graham Walsh (Viet Cong, Metz, Alvvays) and Brian Borcherdt, who respectively make up the band Holy Fuck. This is the most electric No Joy has sounded, the energy from their live shows transcending into the recordings. Singer Jasamine White-Gluz is not only exploring her range vocally, but these are some of the most emotive performances to date.
No Joy’s debut album Ghost Blonde was one of the standouts of the shoegaze revival in 2010. 2013’s sophomore Wait to Pleasure proved to be their sonic breakout success, while last year’s More Faithful solidified No Joy as one of the genre strongest innovators. Throughout all these major releases (as well as their collection of EPs and singles) it’s almost as if No Joy want to keep you guessing.
Stop making this band about gender. Stop making this band about nostalgia. Instead of trying to label what the band has been, let’s see where the band is about to go.