It’s often said that the best albums will take you on a journey. With melody and rhythm as your travel companions, a great album should remind of where you’ve been but also encourage you to look toward the unknown with wide-eyed splendor. With such lofty expectations, few albums actually deliver on the promise of the trip of a lifetime. Most usually fall somewhere in the realm of, say, a road trip to Ohio. Sure, parts of it can be exciting, but let’s face it, you ended up somewhere in Cincinnati. In this sense, the new album from Italy’s JoyCut, Pieces Of Us Were Left On The Ground, is no grand adventure around the world, but it is like traveling to a rather plain destination in a Ferrari.
JoyCut’s one of the latest bands to emerge from the seemingly ever-growing post rock explosion of the last few years. All of the benchmark of the traditional post-rock sound are there; long, sweeping instrumental songs highlighted with grand arpeggios and bombastic mood shifts, with little or no vocal influence. Many of the tracks on Pieces clock in at 5 plus minutes, so while we’re not talking Mono sized length, the tracks are certainly still an investment. And while it undoubtedly takes an immense amount of skill and proficiency to play the type of music that JoyCut produces, that dedication has a tendency to get lost in translation throughout the recording.
That being said, there are elements throughout Pieces that separate JoyCut from the rest of the post-rock crowd. For example, “Wireless” which again features all of the typical elements found in post-rock, showcases one notable difference. It’s not the typical sad bastard downer tunes, so commonly found throughout the genre. In fact, much to the contrary, “Wireless” is the sound of living life to the fullest, grinning from ear to ear and feeling your beating heart throb against your chest because it’s so full of life. That explosive feeling of optimism (which in my opinion is all too scarce in post-rock) is found throughout the record, but especially notable in “Pieces of Us” and “Neverland.” Now, that’s not to say that Pieces is only an Andrew W.K. slab of positive power songs because that is not the case. There are numerous different styles and moods to be found throughout the record, from the mournful, piano-driven ballad of “1-D”, the quasi-industrial throb of “Children In Love” and the Joy Division-esque new wave tinge of “Save” making it not only one of the more diverse post-rock offerings in recent memory, but also one of the more enjoyable.
It’s largely thanks to the wide variety found throughout Pieces that saves it from falling into mediocrity. If you’re looking for an album that will blow your mind and sound like nothing you’ve ever heard before (aka, a journey to an exotic beach side villa) this isn’t that record. But, if you are looking for a fresh new take on a genre that generally doesn’t allow for much room to breathe, let alone straight up musical and mood experimentations, than you may want to check this album out. It may not be the most exciting thing you hear all year, but the ride will be memorable nonetheless.