Thursday, 12 January 2012

EP Review: Joyce The Librarian – The Weight Of The Line

Released: 9th January 2012
Get It: Bandcamp

Unexpected and understated delights from a band that stand apart

With a name like Joyce The Librarian you could easily have a stab at what to expect. In likelihood it would involve jangly C86 guitars and a twee female vocal. If that is what you tought then you're a fair way off.

Although there's a distant sonic comparison to some of the recent solo material from Darrey Hayman, Joyce sit comfortably outside of the traditional indiepop template. Their acoustic pop is clean sounding and very ably played. So confident are the band that they open track number one, 'When The Wood Comes Down' with a long instrumental intro. Although without any spectacular flourishes the song brings a memorable vocal hook to the table and the additional twinkling in the background is enough to make you think of Christmas.

'From The Foot Of Troopers Hill' is better yet. The distant snare drum is tapped to a marching beat and a small chorus of backing harmonies ensure that the tenderness of the hook “You're on my side” is emphasised. A cello is a lovely addition to the arsenal and is deployed only when needed across both this and 'Land'. Surprisingly this number manages to bring British Sea Power's Man Of Aran soundtrack to mind, albeit with vocals. The interplay of the trumpet and cello means that the gentle melody soars. With a coastal feel it's certainly the highlight of the release and a good introduction to Joyce The Librarian for those unfamiliar.

The Weight Of The Line ends with it's title track which commits the Bristol band's sound to memory. Again we see the folk beginnings but without some of the the grander embellishments. Relying less on the lyrical repetition ('Land' hypnotically goes over the line “Your day will come”) the song shines more and, as you might expect from a song that doen't go over two-and-a-half minutes, flies by. The lyrics about sails reflect the nautical theme which sonically appears in the form of a buzzing cello.

Although it is perhaps a bit sparse and seated for some indiepop tastes, Joyce The Librarian bring something new to the table for those seeking a real alternative.

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