No Joy has the relentless sonic permutations that are evidence of front person and principal songwriter Jasamine White-Gluz’s insatiable desire to grow. The Montréal-based project began a decade ago as e-mail-traded riffs; subsequent albums showcased a penchant for delay-saturated jangle, industrial distortion, and sludgey drones over disco beats. White-Gluz, feeling too reliant on her primary instrument, ditched the guitars and detoured to modular electronica for a 2018 EP composed with Sonic Boom (Spacemen 3’s Peter Kember).
For No Joy’s first full length in five years, White-Gluz took what she learned from synthesis, reincorporated guitars, and produced an album that is not a departure from No Joy’s early shoegaze, but a stylistically omnivorous expansion that ekes into trip hop, trance and nu-metal. Motherhood is the culmination of years composing outside of her comfort zone, and a return to DIY recording with a leveled-up expertise in production. Touring with genre-divergent artists has honed the band’s comfortably multifarious sound; No Joy picked up post-hardcore fans on the road with Quicksand, and ambient techno fans on gigs with Baths. “As long as people are open minded about music, they can hear different things,” explains White-Gluz, “Maybe because there are a lot of layers.”
“A lot of layers” may be an understatement. Lead single “Birthmark” combines the ‘90s dance rock of Republica with phasing fuzz à la Deftones’ brand of loud-quiet-loud. “Dream Rats” (featuring White-Gluz’s sister, Alissa, of deathcore supergroup Arch Enemy) manages to cram synth choir, blast beats, cowboy leads, and signal-jammed shredding into a radio-friendly three and a half minutes. “Nothing Will Hurt” melds detuned arpeggios, Berlin school synths, slapped bass, and seemingly infinite vocal facets. Throughout are loving nostalgic nods to the records White-Gluz adored on their release twenty years ago–Massive Attack, Sneaker Pimps, No Doubt.
Collaborative, exploratory fun hallmarks No Joy’s discography, and Motherhood is no exception. Jorge Elbrecht (Ariel Pink, Sky Ferreira, Japanese Breakfast) returns in his role as co-producer and multi-instrumentalist.
Watch out for the album coming 21st August..