It’s pretty incredible what you can do with phones these days. They can give you directions, tell you how long you've been sleeping and record an entire album of material. This is exactly what Spencer Joyce did on his recent release Overnight Rockstar. The results - while I'm more than impressed from the sound quality when I heard it was recording through a phone, it is still a clear indication of why recording studios are still very much needed. The guitars are thin, vocals sound too raw; I could on but I won’t. The point is the technology isn't there yet and probably won't be for a long time despite how good of an engineer you are.
With that out of the way it is evident that Joyce can write a song. There are a number of tracks that display some talent. He writes rock/pop songs that revolve around a rather standard setup of distorted electric guitar, drums and barely existent bass. Joyce’s singing is decent but sometimes he is off-key and it’s not subtle. Some of this probably could have been covered up with reverb, proper EQing and a conservative amount of auto tune.
Joyce’s lyrics are sometimes motivational pieces of advice rather than poetic metaphors or narratives. On “Rolling Along” he sings, “ I remember back in school I never ever challenged rules and I had a boring time but i grew up and realized that when you want to do something crazy you can't sit around acting all lazy.” On “The Official Girl Of Your Dreams” he combines a bit of rock and blues. It’s a decent tune but his phone can’t handle the dynamics in his voice and unnaturally compresses it.
A clear highlight is “Escaping Hell” as Joyce delivers on of best vocal performances. The song is catchy and he implements percussive synths, which served the song well. Another victory was the acoustic based “Teachings Of The Lost,” which has its foundations in bluegrass and country. His voice sounds good against the acoustic instrumentation.
Joyce has talent but the recordings need more than a bit of tweaking. I also feel as if his vocals could use some work regardless of production. He is not only off-key on occasion but his voice loses its aesthetically pleasing attributes when confronted with dynamic, ranged material. Overall, Joyce is a work in progress with potential.
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