Joy Again’s hazy indie rock elegantly portrays the complexities of opposing, yet overlapping human emotions.
This past month Philly-based Joy Again released the single package “Kim + On A Farm,” two singles that feel opposite in craft but similar in story. On Joy Again’s website, you can find the humorous tale that inspired these tunes.
Before we dive into “Kim + On A Farm,” let’s first mention Joy Again’s EP that dropped this past January. Out via Never Grow Up Records, the five track EP features an eclectic mix of ballads and rock jams, but all include the hazy, unique vocals of lead singer Arthur Shea. Sachi DiSerafino, Blaise O’Brien, Noah Burke, and Saint Sean Henry III complete the quintet to create an intriguing indie rock sound. The intriguing aspect comes in with their addition of cowbells, banjos, and keyboard flourishes that sprinkle their songs with sensory surprises.
Listen: “Kim + On A Farm” – Joy Again
“Kim” sucks you in immediately with the guitar riff that’ll have you snapping within the first 30 seconds of pressing play. The laughable lyrics about “Kim” will have you reimagining your own wonky relationships and want to scream alongside Shea. Clocking in at under two minutes, Joy Again packs a novel into a paragraph with this one.
She passes judgement
On me again
My only God can’t you see
That I’m not quite worthy
and I don’t wanna die
I don’t wanna die
You fucking kill me once again
– “Kim,” Joy Again
Kim sounds sassy, ambitious, and always vocal about what she wants. The tempo of “Kim” matches the high-energy frustration and lust that accompanies a relationship with a person who’s everyday feels like a rollercoaster. We’re unsure where the chorus lies, what to consider as the bridge, and if any traditional song structure appears at all during this rock ditty. It’s almost as if the unexpected nature of Kim exploded into the feelings and musical vibrations of a Joy Again hit single.
“On A Farm” takes an entirely different swirly route. It’s toned down and has a dreamy quality permeating from start to finish.
Now that I’m well
I’ll be a good man for God
I’ve been to Hell
In fact, I hang out there a lot
Don’t fall asleep
If you are alone
Always stay up late
Playing on your phone
I want to text you so I won’t cut off my arm
I want to go back
I want to work on a farm
– “On A Farm,” Joy Again
“On A Farm” feels nostalgic and psychedelic, especially if you check out the video the accompanies the singles package. There’s mention of staying up late on a phone and wanting to work on a farm. The push and pull of old and new strains the modern psyche into creating the daydreamy thought piece that is “On A Farm.”
A few indicators of unhappiness peek through the lyrics but they are masked by the airy quality of the melody. The desire to “not want to talk” from “Kim” infiltrates the message of “On A Farm” as well. The storyteller seems to yearn for a simpler existence; an existence without difficulties, technology, and times of self-loathing – maybe an existence on a farm?
Either way, I believe we aren’t meant to come to a clear realization. Joy Again’s beauty lies in their haziness and ability to portray the complexities of opposing, yet overlapping human emotions. Humans don’t feel singular emotions at a time, and that’s what these Philly indie rockers seem to be broadcasting. We feel in tumultuous waves of anger, desire, and if we’re lucky joy (again).
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photo © Caro Ramirez