Joseph

Good Luck, Kid

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    7
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On their third long-player, Portland-based sister outfit Joseph further distance themselves from their indie folk origins, applying the full might of their bewitching three-part harmonies to an album of big, unabashed pop. A cinematic undercurrent of movement runs through Good Luck, Kid, particularly in regards to concepts of travel and escape. No longer the earthy dreamers of Pacific Northwest dramas, Allison, Meegan, and Natalie Closner assume their roles as "road queens," a phrase emblazoned on the matching drag team jackets worn in the album's moody, muscle car-themed photo shoot. With its insistent rhythms and punchy, dark hooks, the standout title cut is all chrome fenders and taillights disappearing down the two-lane blacktop. An element of danger lives in the electric sizzle of "Presence" while the shimmering neon dream pop of "Enough in Your Eyes" takes a more enigmatic and sensual path. The vampish '80s glow that colors many of these tracks helps to reframe some of Joseph's more earnest tendencies, adding a welcome bit of attitude to their folk-pop affirmations. Produced with a pleasing amount of bombast by Christian Langdon (younger brother of Royston Langdon, who fronted '90s alt-rock stars Spacehog), Good Luck, Kid is a step in the right direction for a band who, despite their obvious musical talents and familial chemistry, have often come across as too reliant on genre cliches without great material to back it up. While not all the material here is great, there are plenty of highlights and Joseph's triple-threat of three strong frontwomen and the combined vocal power they can produce seems custom built for the arena of mainstream pop.

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