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Joyce Manor - 40 oz. to Fresno (Album Review)

Friday, 10 June 2022 Written by Will Marshall

Joyce Manor crank out the kind of pop-punk that blends saccharine melodies with sarcastic lyrics, and with their sixth album ‘40 oz. to Fresno’ they see no reason to deviate from their formula. Still, there is plenty of nuance here to reward repeat listens despite its short runtime. 

Backing up that claim they open by covering Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, although their take on Souvenir has their identity stamped all over it thanks to its palm-muted guitars and vocalist Barry Johnson’s distinctive croon. From there, in just 14 minutes they tear through another eight songs, none more than two and a half minutes in length, and make every second count.

NBTSA charges in, with Johnson musing on a mysterious, life-changing event atop driving drums. You’re Not Famous Anymore is a tongue-in-cheek assessment of a child star fallen on hard times, though sonically it veers towards The Clash’s Should I Stay Or Should I Go in its main guitar lick. 

‘40 oz. to Fresno’ neatly avoids the trap of running out of ideas by simply being so short—instead of having to pack out 10 or 12 three-plus minute songs, these ones are almost uniformly under two minutes and packed with hooks. 

By sticking to their sound while embracing the unexpected here and there, Joyce Manor succeed in crafting catchy pop-punk that’s easy to digest but reveals new layers with each fresh spin. It’s the sound of a band getting back to what they love best, and is all the better for it.

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