Joy on Fire: Unknown Cities (Procrastination Records, 2021)

December 15, 2021 at 8:08 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Joy on Fire: Unknown Cities

New Jersey’s Joy on Fire play progressive jazz-rock that’s much easier on the ears than black midi. Most of this album’s songs are instrumentals, with charging saxophones criss-crossing over driving rhythms. “China, North Carolina” is the album’s winding epic, gradually arriving at some scorching solos, and pushing even further during the second part. “The Complete Book pt 4” is closer to alternative rock influenced by Krautrock, at least at the beginning, then the saxophone takes it on a wilder ride. “In Speaking Like Thunder” introduces vocals in the form of a paranoid, close-miked narrative, then it’s taken over by stretched-out guitar effects, and the drums slow to a queasy crawl at the end. “Unknown City” is a pretty different vibe, with programmed electronic drums and a 303-sounding bassline, as well as more vocals which are closer to spoken than sung.

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