No Joy:Motherhood (Joyful Noise) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Thursday, October 29th, 2020  

No Joy

Motherhood

Joyful Noise

Oct 16, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


In a world where the omnipotent algorithm demands instant attention-grabbing earworms, Motherhood, the new album from No Joy (the project of Montreal-based artist, Jasamine White-Gluz), is a body of work that makes demands of the listener. It's an album that may well confuse the causal listener, enamour the musical tech-head, and have those with more esoteric tastes scrambling for superlatives. At times it sounds like a celestial choir being dragged into the roar of a jet engine and there are occasions when the production, no matter how impressive, can become a distraction. Indeed on first listen it sounds somewhat overwhelming—a tsunami of ideas and styles clashing and with so much going on it may prompt feelings that perhaps less might be more. But it’s an album more about atmospherics, melodic tensions, and soundscapes rather than oven cooked pop bangers. 

White-Gluz’s last outing, an EP in 2018 with Peter Kember (aka Sonic Boom) of Spaceman 3, was an exercise in experimentation with White-Gluz eschewing guitars in order to push herself out of her creative comfort zone and perhaps a wish to throw off the slightly reductive “shoegaze” tag. The results were sadly somewhat lacklustre. On Motherhood the guitars are back and then some with Tara McLeod of Canadian metal band Kittie lending her formidable shredding skills to the album as well as playing a bit of banjo because, well why not? Whilst on the stonking “Dream Rats”—which sounds a little like Lush on steroids—White-Gluz’s younger sister Alissa, vocalist with death metal icons Arch Enemy, makes a guest appearance.  

Initially, Motherhood feels not unlike like a jigsaw with all the pieces thrown into the air, with the listener trying to piece it together until the shape of the songs reveal themselves. It's only after several listens that the scope of the ambition of Motherhood comes into focus as White-Gluz embraces trip-hop, nu-metal, industrial beats, and trance. “Ageless” and “Kidder” are perfect examples of how good No Joy can sound when all the elements coalesce perfectly. 

There’s still a feeling that perhaps if the vocals were higher in the mix and had less distortion the songs could perhaps shine even brighter. But White-Gluz was never going to make a straightforward album and this is not always an easy or straightforward listen, but the more you listen the more you find things to admire. (www.nojoy.bandcamp.com)

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10



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