Joyce Manor

Million Dollars to Kill Me

Epitaph

Sep 20, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Find It At: AMAZON

If there was any doubt over whether Californian punks Joyce Manor would continue in the poppy direction they were going in after 2016's Cody, there is surely none now on their latest effort Million Dollars to Kill Me. Their fifth album sees the band at their most straight-up pop/rock, but also at their most mature, aging their sound like a fine wine in comparison to their scrappy, beer-and-pizza soaked opening triad of records. Some fans may lament that loss of innocence that occurred on Cody, but in all honesty, it would be stranger if the band didn't move on from that initial youthful exuberance, intoxicating though it undoubtedly was.

Here, the band of guitarist/vocalist Barry Johnson, guitarist Chase Knobbe, bassist Matt Ebert, and new drummer Pat Ware make the interesting choice of recording with Converge's Kurt Ballou at his GodCity Studio in Boston, an eye-raising decision given his tendency to record exclusively "heavy" music. Regardless, Ballou is a veteran and expert behind the desk, and while this runs the risk of the two slightly-at-odds styles feeling each other out, he masters a bright and sparkling sound appropriate for Joyce Manor's current vibe.

If ever one needed reminding of the band's increasing maturity, their songwriting and melodies are staggeringly on point, creating a pleasing pop ditty of a record which still retains their punk belief to never clock in at over half an hour in total (23 minutes, here) or have tracks that outstay their welcome (excellent single "Think I'm Still in Love With You" is the longest here, at a practically mammoth 2:48). Some hardcore fans may find this ultra-poppy sound the final straw in their relationship with Joyce Manor, but the rest of us will be out here seeing out the last of the summer. (www.joyce-manor.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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