Released: November 4, 2008
Label: Rough Trade
By: Mauro Lopez
If you've ever wondered what summer sounds like, you need not look further. Certainly you can imagine a picturesque backdrop of a white sandy beach with palms shading the hammock in the near distance. Perhaps you've found yourself on a beach towel sipping your favorite coconut rum concoction. Imagine all these things through a Polaroid snapshot; this is what is recreated in Little Joy's debut album, except well musically.
Little Joy was formed in 2007 by The Strokes' drummer Fabrizio Moretti and Brazilian-based rock group Los Hermanos' singer/guitarist Rodrigo Amarante. Shortly after, they met Binky Shapiro, a multi-instrumentalist who became the third member, thus completing the bands official line-up. Throughout the self-titled album, you can hear an array of musical influences creatively fused together by clever linear drum patterns; simple, yet fulfilling bass lines; attractive chord progressions; and harmonious vocals provided by all three members.
The tone is quickly set by the album's opening track, "The Next Time Around," which begins with a small assortment of instruments reminiscent of Harry Belafonte's jumpy, tropical sound. The impressive combination of harmonizing voices which follow provide a smooth welcome to the rest of the album, and while staying within the boundaries of their own sound, the songs offer an opulence of variety in style and dynamic.
In "Unattainable," for example, the minimalistic sound brings the album down a notch while maintaining the flow. Even more so, the final track titled "Evaporar," which is sang by Amarante in Portuguese, lacks the energetic quality found in some of the other songs, but remains clever and complex.
One of the catchier upbeats is "Keep Me in Mind." There is no doubt that this song carries on some of the traits found in the members' previous acts. It is almost as if this is Little Joy's way of paying homage; the song takes the dirty sound of The Strokes and the nostalgic sound of Los Hermanos and proportionally combines the two while adding a third element in the process.
Whether you are spending the day at the beach, having a BBQ by the pool, or just looking for something catchy to make your summer brighter, Little Joy's self-titled album is definitely one that will have you singing along after just a couple of listens. And although there has been no talk about the band working on anything new, Little Joy's classic, nostalgic, and eclectic sound will not let this one die out anytime soon.