No Joy — Motherhood
(Bandcamp no#, 2020, CD / DL / LP)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2020-10-05
No Joy is Montreal based singer / composer / multi-instrumentalist Jasmine White-Gluz, who along with Jorge Elbrecht and numerous guests create an interesting hybrid of shoegaze, dream pop, electronica, touches of metal, psych, funk and aggressive brutal rock. No Joy has several previous releases, though most are singles or EPs, the previous full length releases are Wait to Pleasure from 2013, and 2015’s More Faithful, making the latest, Motherhood, the first full length release in five years. White-Gluz is credited with guitar, vocals, piano, synths and more, Elbrecht plays guitar, bass, vocals and more; both share the writing and production credits. Additional players include Tara McLeod (guitar, banjo), Jeremy Dabrowski (synths, wind instruments, and additional percussion), Jamie Thompson (drums), and additional vocals on one cut by Alissa White-Gluz (Jasmine’s sister, who is the singer for deathcore group Arch Enemy). As one listens to each of the eleven tracks here, the first thing that becomes apparent is the intense amount of sonic layering that goes into each piece, from multiple voice backing tracks to electronics and shimmering guitars and sheer power density, it all comes together to make this a unique blend of sounds. Album opener “Birthmark” capably mixes electronics, percussion, multiple layers of dreamy vocals, guitars, and droning bass pulses to create an exquisite introduction. After less than four minutes we move on to “Dream Rats,” where Jasmine shares the vocals with her sister, a soft 20 second intro erupts into a scorching twisted chaotic metal sound, something that wouldn’t have been out of place on one of the early Siouxsie and the Banshees albums. Other songs of interest (in other words, standouts) include the slow and dreamy “Primal Curse,” which pretty much stays firmly in dreampop territory; “Happily Bleeding” makes good use of electronic percussion and synths to achieve a somewhat psychedelic cadence with interesting melodic shifts amid layers of voices; the opening synth melodies and danceable rhythms of “Ageless” harken back to an 80s synth-pop sound; “Why Mothers Die” offers a slpwer paced ballad with powerful and trippy guitars driving it forward, all bookended by Jasmine’s powerful voice. I have no knowledge of the previous albums for comparison purposes, but every cut on Motherhood stands as a substantial testament to No Joy’s brilliance.
Related artist(s): No Joy (Jasmine White-Gluz)
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