Premiere: Idle Joy’s “Neighbors” Is Pure Fun Wrapped in Blues with a Country Twang

Idle Joy © 2020
Idle Joy © 2020
Los Angeles band Idle Joy’s devil-may-care attitude will grip listeners on their driving, bluesy new track “Neighbors.”
Stream: “Neighbors” – Idle Joy

Sometimes the best way to set yourself apart is lowering the stakes, aiming for authenticity over drama, and that’s exactly what Idle Joy have done with their single “Neighbors.” While a million heartbroken piano ballads and arrogant aspirationals saturate the airwaves, the jovial, sunny guitars and cheeky lyrics of “Neighbors” bring things back down to earth. “Neighbors” will appear on Idle Joy’s forthcoming Your Stars, the band’s sophomore effort releasing on April 10th to all streaming platforms.

Your Stars - Idle Joy
Your Stars – Idle Joy

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Neighbors,” Idle Joy’s first single since releasing their self-titled debut album in January 2019. “Neighbors” is a satisfying blend of blues and classic rock with some punk edge, rounded off neatly by a country twang. Idle Joy’s devil-may-care attitude may be the most gripping part of the tune, and indeed the band as a whole. “I don’t care ‘bout the girl downstairs/the landlord told me to cut my hair,” Tom Conneely breezily sings, locks flowing down half his height. “Neighbors” is the water lapping at your feet oceanside after you finally told your now ex-boss to fuck off. It’s a sonic afterglow laden with the light existential pondering that passes hours under a willow tree with a good friend.

The tune just seems to lend itself to pleasant imagery, but those aside, the lyricism is straightforward without being simplistic. “Neighbors” is eminently relatable and has the same energy of its classic-, blues-, and country-rock forebears. If your media environment is saturated with MCU level tedious blockbusters and the absurd pageantry of Steven Tyler sandwiched between 2000 moody piano ballads, it stands to reason that such a song will be a crisp, cheerful refresher. It holds authority in contempt, but it’s not an all consuming contempt like the hardness that underlies punk – “Neighbors” articulates the simple anarchic desire to do as you please. To exist and have fun. To grill.

Idle Joy © 2020
Idle Joy © 2020

First listening to the song, it didn’t quite occur to me just how much country influence the song carries. If this is a turn off to you in words, don’t let it be in sound – “Neighbors” channels what a litany of soulless Toby Keith stadium anthems annihilated for the genre. The guitar in “Neighbors,” played by Daniel Lavezzo, has all the soul of a crack blues player wheeling about chord changes, accompanied by the driving rhythm of Steve Jaeger’s bass and Alex Coltharp’s drums. In a live setting, the song could easily become an extended vamp, an exciting prospect with such a lively act.

The chorus walks straight up to the line of punk without crossing it, adding the perfect amount of drive and edge needed to break up the song before sauntering effortlessly back into its blues rock groove. It’s here that Conneely expresses the slightest regret at his lifestyle, “I wish I was who you think I am” – instantly becoming an afterthought with the segue back into the verse.

Idle Joy © 2020
Idle Joy © 2020

The music video for “Neighbors” channels this carefree joy brilliantly, featuring Conneely as, per the credits, a “succulent thief” with a Dana Carvey circa Wayne’s World demeanor and a contempt for authority.

The video starts with a shot of a neighbor waking a sprawled out Conneely from the pavement before freewheeling between various shots of Conneely’s illicit gardening and pirouettes in a swirly office chair. One particularly endearing shot shows the succulent thief’s landlord barely suppressing a grin before breaking out into head-banging to the tune.

“Neighbors” is pure fun.

Stream Idle Joy’s latest release exclusively on Atwood Magazine!

Stream: “Neighbors” – Idle Joy

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