No Joy / Sonic Boom

No Joy/Sonic Boom

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After the shoegaze band No Joy got off the road touring for their 2015 album, More Faithful, bandleader Jasamine White-Gluz wanted to try something different. She was acquainted with Sonic Boom (aka Pete Kember of Spacemen 3 and Spectrum fame, not to mention his long career as a sound structurist and producer), and the pair began exchanging messages -- and then ideas -- for songs through the wires. The four-song EP No Joy/Sonic Boom that came from their collaboration is a feast of vintage synths, cooing vocals, warped beats, and barely any guitar. The songs White-Gluz sent to Kember were meant to be played by a full band, but he twisted them into electronic weirdness that ebbs and flows, thumps and wobbles, hums and shimmers in turn. Leadoff track "Obsession" is the fullest realization of their pairing; White-Gluz's sampled vocals float over thumping beats and super-fat synth bass, while the sequenced synths burble and beep in nicely melodic fashion. It rolls along like this, creating a mood not unlike euphoria in the listener, then suddenly shifts gears into a subaquatic drone for a bit as the song peacefully doubles back on itself. A few minutes of that and it bursts back into life, throwing beams of sunshine out of the speakers and into the air, before winding to a close after 11 minutes of brilliance. It's quite an achievement, possibly the most uplifting thing Kember has been associated with. The other three tracks are closer to what one might expect from the duo. "Slorb" is a slow-motion dream of a song, with White-Gluz's heavenly vocals the focal point and some jagged synth lines cutting through the slumber; "Triangle Probably" pairs thundering, almost industrial, drums with droning synths; and "Teenage Panic" sounds like a No Joy song turned inside out, then looped and chopped randomly before being reassembled. It also features some of the only recognizable guitar playing on the EP. No Joy/Sonic Boom is a delightful collaboration where both parties were unafraid to try new things, and this spirit of exploration led them to make something truly exciting and rewarding.

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