No Joy is perfect mood music for when Nothing Feels Good.
There must be some kind of scientific correlation between feeling down and out and listening to fuzzy guitar music. It’s been commonplace since the days of Loveless in the early nineties, but its explosion due to the constant output of the Bandcamp rock scene has been a largely millennial phenomena. Pedals outnumber guitars, reverb outshines backups, it’s just how it works when life’s bumming you out. Enter No Joy, the Canadian sludge-gazers whose 2013 album Wait to Pleasure hooked them deep into the flesh of cult-favorite fuzz bands. Their 2016 release, Drool Sucker, is shorter than their previous releases, but it more than manages to lay down the foundation of why No Joy are so beloved to begin with.
Past what just might be the coolest cover art of the year, Drool Sucker is packed with a trio of short singles that get better and better with every listen. The four band members don’t take so much after the disembodied effervescence of old-school shoegaze, but rather play into a vein of energy and emotive songwriting popular with contemporaries (and now Topshelf label-mates) such as Pity Sex or Adventures, with sludgy bass lines and whammy bars abound. Walls aren’t broken down in Drool Sucker’s less-than-10-minute run time, but it doesn’t make the band’s chemistry any less catchy. “Theme Song” is both the perfect encapsulation of the EP and perhaps the best song on it, playing heavily on dreamy vocals and repetitions. The message is clear: for fans of this kind of bummer music, here’s your perfect theme. The right approaches are all taken. If the perfect mood music is out there for when Nothing Feels Good, No Joy is about as close as you can get.
Listen to No Joy on bandcamp.
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Elijah Fosl is a freelance music and culture writer who's really bad at describing themselves. They hail from Louisville but live in Chicago where they work, ferociously devouring cassette tapes and local produce. Find them on Twitter at @elifosl or online at elifosl.com.