This week saw the release of quite possibly the year’s best shoegaze album. Okay, yes, just a few months ago My Bloody Valentine reemerged after a twenty-year wait with mbv, an almost unfathomable leap into impossibilities of sound, but that can have its own special category. Because Montreal group No Joy’s second album, Wait To Pleasure, is too good not to hyperbolize.
The problem with so much music of this stripe, as any mildly obsessed fan can tell you, is that the trademarks—heavenly reverb, massive guitars, blurry androgynous vocals and deep-space drums—are often used to mask a shortage of songwriting chops. Not a problem for No Joy, which wouldn’t be caught dead without a stellar composition underneath them. Take, for example, “Prodigy,” a ode that has some of A Sunny Day In Glasgow’s airy breeze, but plenty of heavy artillery too.
Elsewhere, other genres are straddled: “Blue Neck Riveria” has some of the hard edges of trip-hop perfect for a late-night drive, and “Wrack Attack” is something of a girl-group, garage-pop nugget. They’re most themselves, however, on the official single, the endlessly surprising “Lunar Phobia,” which unfolds like a sunburst of everything you liked about the 90s. If that’s a decade you remember.