Not too many bands have a motto but JOAN does. The saying goes "the feel is the family" which is a phrase that is open to interpretation but for JOAN the phrase certainly applies to the people who contributed to this exceptional album. JOAN is fronted by "Hank" Harrison Mittnacht and Armand "Nick" Farago but just one glance at their Bandcamp page and you can see the slew of people who put some effort into this album.
Saying their self-titled debut JOAN is an eclectic album is an understatement. In fact the only reason they get away with it is because the songs are just that good. Motown, French club music and folk are just the tip of the iceberg.
The first track entitled “Greenwich Dives” is a smooth, slick, pop song. The production sometimes reminded me of Twin Shadow as the song mixes some subdued funk with synths. I enjoyed the vocal delivery, as it also seemed effortless. The vocalist sings about going to dive bars in the city while mixing in some ambiguity. On the first verse he sings, “Soon as the train arrived / Straight to the Greenwich dives / Living it up untouched / By the teeth, and the bad vibes.”
The band pulls off Motown just as good as Jamie Lidell on “Firefly.” I have to say the production of guitar and bass were spot on. The verse is good but the chorus is riveting. Overall, the song is a certified highlight. “Mrs. Discover” is another attempt and a success at a different style. The band sounds a bit like Foxygen who sound like The Rolling Stones... Well you should have a general idea. I’m not sure if I enjoyed the frivolous vocals or the horns more but they both were integral to the vibe of the song.
JOAN can compete with Simian Mobile Disco to get your butt moving on the swankiest of dance floors. The cheesy synths work and so does the French bass. As the album progresses the band goes into different territory and retreads on some styles they pulled off previously. ”Lion Tamer” plays into a subdued, minimal atmosphere that is warm and melodic. This is a great song overall that sounded like a combination of Broken Social Scene and Peter Bjorn and John.
I won’t give away the whole album but if you have been paying attention this is certainly an album that I think most people will enjoy. The songs are incredibly well written and delivered. Highly Recommended.
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