Release Date: Apr 23, 2013
Record label: Kemado
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Noise Pop, Shoegaze
A certain pent-up aggression unleashes itself, cathartic and unrestrained, in No Joy’s third release Wait To Pleasure. The Montreal female three-piece shreds guitars and any preconceived sense of sweetness alike, evidenced by the gun-toting “E,” Wait To Pleasure’s throbbing, dissonant opener, bleeding into the lapping echoes of “Hare Tarot Lies.” Textured as it comes, the album drips with heady shoegaze, and meaty bass lines prevail in a melodic, rewarding sonic endeavor. .
Montreal shoegazers No Joy started off with sounds as doomy and inconsolable as their band name, spinning tales of detachment and everyday dread over lo-fi treatments, guitar strangulation, and reverb abuse. As dreamy and exciting as the band could be, some details were lost in the fuzz of their 2010 debut, Ghost Blonde. While the follow-up Wait to Pleasure is by no means less obscured by feedback and noisy textures, the songs have a sense of clarity and determination that separates them from the band's earlier work.
It’s fitting that so much talk about shoegaze plays up security-- the sound is womblike, it blankets you, places you in a waking dream and so forth. And it’s as welcoming to musicians as it is to listeners, as volume, reverb and distortion can be used to minimize mistakes while bands that stay within the established boundaries are often rewarded by its intense loyalists. Case in point, No Joy; if you like shoegaze, you liked No Joy’s 2010 debut Ghost Blonde, as it was a solid, satisfying entry into the genre that didn’t take many chances.
Montreal trio No Joy emerged in 2010 with Ghost Blonde, a debut album that wonderfully reimagined late '80s and early '90s Creation and 4AD shoegaze and dream pop as well as anybody in the last decade. Following last year's transitional Negaverse EP, the band recorded an entire LP, mixed by the Raveonettes' Sune Rose Wagner, only to turn around and scrap it for being "too weird. " Heading into a proper studio with producer Jorge Elbrecht, No Joy indulged in their surroundings to make Wait to Pleasure.
I was about 13 years old and hanging out in my older brother’s bedroom; the year was about 1993 or 1994. I was looking through his dubbed cassettes and playing with his guitar when he turned to me and said, “Listen to this CD my friend let me borrow. It’s crazy”. He popped the CD into his stereo, hit play, and suddenly this cacophonous, blurry, hallucinatory music came oozing out of his speakers.
NO JOY play the Garrison on Tuesday (April 23). See listing. Rating: NNNN In interviews, Montreal's No Joy often display discomfort with the term "shoegaze." Sure, their aesthetic is clearly tied to that much-lauded early-90s guitar rock movement, especially live, when co-leaders Jasamine White-Gluz and Laura Lloyd obscure their faces with hair and their ethereal melodies with deafening swaths of reverb and distortion.
Deferred gratification is a truism of creativity, ingrained in almost every artist’s DNA; traditionally there are no shortcuts to success. As a band you’re meant to meet and bond, cobble a set together, buy gear (musical and, um, often the other sort), play fleapits, learn to actually play, record demos, support better bands, shlep around in a van, have fun. You pay your dues.
I’m really enthralled by this 90s revival we seem to be going through. Maybe it’s what we grow up on that we resonate with the most, so I’m picking out individual cases and calling it a trend. I admit to that bias. But after years of shoegaze dead space, it's hard to miss a newer entrant. I ….
Obviously whenever anyone reviews a band who play music vaguely resembling shoegaze, it’s essential to mention My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth and The Jesus And Mary Chain nice and early. So let’s go right ahead and say that Canadian noise-pop trio No Joy are heavily indebted to all three. Pleasingly, though, the experimental heart of the band’s 2010 debut ‘Ghost Blonde’ is still beating, so ‘Wait To Pleasure’ isn’t just a mere nostalgia trip.
While reviews of their 2010 debut drew a straight line directly to bands like My Bloody Valentine (to the band’s apparent dismay), Montreal duo No Joy continue to make it clear that they aren’t just another shoegaze band. While taking umbrage in interviews is one thing, adding wrinkles as unexpected as a programmed, near-hip-hop beat to their follow-up, Wait To Pleasure, is an even more serious step. Their eagerness to separate themselves leads to mixed results, feeling alternatingly awkwardly forced and brilliantly composed.
Lead single ‘Lunar Phobia’ is glowing evidence of the progression that No Joy have made between their debut and ‘Wait To Pleasure’, the Montreal/LA trio’s second album. While famous fan Bethany Cosentino once tweeted “dude, No Joy is the best band ever, two hot blonde girls just shredding away, sooooo amazing,” Jasamine White-Gluz, Laura Lloyd and Garland Hastings don’t just shred away; they conjure diverse songs, which makes ‘Wait To Pleasure’ far from just a straightforward shoegaze album. That said, it’d be hard to think otherwise after opener ‘E’, as jam-packed as it is with sweeping guitars and ethereal vocals, making its five minutes positively haunting.
It’d be inaccurate to dismiss No Joy’s debut full-length, Ghost Blonde, as a lo-fi record. Sure, it was produced on a shoestring budget in the band’s Montreal practice space – in an interview for this website, guitarist Laura Lloyd claimed you could “hear the Metallica covers band practising next door on some tracks” – but it still sounded lush, layer upon layer of reverb-drenched guitar drowning Jasmine White-Gluz’s dreamy vocals to create a record that belied the humble environment in which it was conceived. Their second release, Wait to Pleasure, is therefore an interesting prospect, given that the band were operating in relative luxury in terms of both time constraints and musical resources.