Joyfultalk is a duo from Nova Scotia and on August 24 they release their sophomore album Plurality Trip through Constellation Records. Analog sound architect Jay Crocker and his partner in art Shawn Dicey are electronic composers bringing you the sounds of the future today! (Read in 50s expo narrator infomercial voice.)
Plurality Trip is an adventurous listen as praiseworthy for its brevity as for its diverse sonic palette. Though three tracks click in at over 6 minutes, the entire seven song project lasts scarcely more than half an hour. Each piece manages to present a distinct and well-rounded slice of life from our approaching moral dilemmas and physical disillusionment during the AI takeover. (At least that’s how I saw it, this is a make-your-own-adventure.)
The bookend companion pieces “Future Energy Fields (I and II)” provide flourishes of hope, opening the album with the promise of an idyllic technological revelation, and closing things with hints of terror, fear bursting and settling in resigned melancholia.
“Monocult” is a thrilling, panicked race through seizure-inducing streets. Its off-putting time signature is stumbling human confusion, eyes frantically scanning to decipher a coded language. The jaunty rhythm and cold ambient waves underneath combine to make “Monocult” an album highlight, expressing the overall textural diversity within one track.
“Kill Scene” is open-eyed wonder, complete with synthetic guitar solo. In its more steady, countable pace you can discern Joyfultalk’s ancestry in smooth jazz.
The two-note refrain that appears at the :50 mark of “Real Life VII” is an alarm rising over the beeping and humming of what could be an abandoned laboratory. The alarm signals the infiltration of robotic hordes from your night terrors, and as the track fades along with alarm, you wonder if in fact any of it was real life. These are sci-fi fantasies, remember. Choose your own adventure.
“Peace Fight” is a scabrous, disjointed interlude, the bout taking place among the shrapnel of electronics in the foreground, bloodying the landscape of sunny meadows painted by the synthesizers.
We then hurtle forward to the last major scene of the album, “You Death March”. The first half builds up a steady, invigorated dance pulse, before breaking to drop a new riff and dropping the beat again. This track most closely resembles a club hit, with its general feeling of bodily release rather than tension. This is the Joyfultalk’s crossover pop moment.
All in all, Constellation has made yet another great signing with this Nova Scotian duo. Plurality Talk creates a world worth experiencing, in spite of, or maybe because of, its subtle terrors.
review by Andy Resto