Cody Album Review
Released October 7, 2016
Genre: Pop Punk, Power Pop
Joyce Manor is at it again! Torrance, California’s on heart-on-sleeve punkers take a crack at crunchy and catchy punk on their fourth full-length, titled Cody – their follow up to 2014’s Never Hungover Again. While the band has definitely matured, aspects of this album don’t hit as hard as expected from Joyce Manor. A few choice cuts, however, do make this an enjoyable album for both cuffing season AND summer.
Thematically, Joyce manor covers familiar territory. Traversing the complexities of human relationships and loss, singer Barry Johnson sings as earnestly as ever about growing up (“Eighteen”) and loss (“Stairs”). Johnson’s lyrics are less subtle and mystical compared to previous Joyce Manor albums, but this sometimes is to the band’s detriment. The opener “Fake I.D.” features a killer chorus and introductory guitar riff, but references to Kanye West and John Steinbeck, as Johnson said himself in this interview, “read like a Clickhole article.” Lyrics like, “I miss him, he was rad,” also hurt to hear on this cut. “Make Me Dumb” lacks the strong hooks and falls into the pop punk cliché of singing about summer. Most of the other songs feature strong lyrics, however. “Stairs,” on the other hand, is a very concerned song about loss and having no sense of direction in life.
Although the production and musicianship are strong throughout this album, some of the songwriting is sacrificed. Songs like “Do You Really Want To Not Get Better” and “Reversing Machine” sound unfinished. “Angel In The Snow” also ends anticlimactically, but is too repetitive and the octave harmonies sound out of place in the chorus. “Last You Heard Of Me” would be a fantastic track if the verses were more dynamic.
The strong tracks and weak tracks are split pretty much 50/50. However, this is a sign that Joyce Manor still have the ability to craft great pop hooks with a punky aesthetic.
FAV TRACKS: Over Before It Began, Stairs
LEAST FAV TRACK: Angel In The Snow, Make Me Dumb, Do You Really Want To Not Get Better