Reviewing records is a funny thing. Sometimes you wonder why you spend countless hours hammering away on your keyboard, face bathed in the eerie blue glow of your computer monitor. You question the very existance of music sometimes, wishing it would all just go away. But record reviewing is like a drug. Record reviewing is *my* drug. Sure, I receive a lot of stuff that falls into the definition of crap, and a lot more stuff that barely fits into the loosely defined boundaries of music itself, but every once in a while, a true gem falls into my worn, calloused hands and it gives me the high I need to keep up my enthusiasm. The new Joshua record is that shot in the arm that I so desperately needed.
To be honest, this record appeared with a few others on my doorstep completely unannounced. I generally hate when record labels send you promotional packages without asking you first. Some of you may say "Dude, free CDs! Don't knock it!" but it's not that simple. I feel obligated to write reviews for everything I review, and when I get swamped, frankly, it sucks. So it was with great trepidation when I slowly tore open the thick brown envelope and this CD, along with a few others, tumbled out. I picked out Joshua among the sea of others, as I had actually heard of the band before. I knew they had put out an album on Doghouse Records a little while ago, and I knew one of their former members left and formed the amazingly shitty Koufax. Even though I had never actually heard Joshua, this put them in my "potential bad review" mindset. But being the trooper that I am, I popped in the shiny plastic disc, and promptly ate my words.
The all-too-short EP begins with "What Love Requires," an almost six minute journey into, lyrically, well, what love does and does not require. Musically, it has a very head-bobbing beat coupled with a slowly frenetic guitar buildup, as well as an eerie keyboard part in the background. The song finally peaks around 4 minutes in, but you don't feel like you were kept waiting in the least. Just from listening to the first track, I understand that Joshua is in no hurry to rush the rock.
Track 2, "This Past September," is a mellow, brooding number with a wonderful piano part that carefully interweaves itself into the guitar line, with both instruments eventually playing off of each other. Pretty isn't the best word for it, but it's the first word that comes to mind.
"Bruise Your Vanity" rounds off the EP with a very No Knife-esque guitar and vocal line during the verses, before reaching the jangly guitar and pounding drums chorus. The song seems to tell the story of an ex-friend whose luck has seemed to run out, giving the singer free reign to mock them heavily. Clever lyrics combined with catchy music equals a great song.
Like I said before, reviewing records is a funny thing. Sometimes you'll look forward to reviewing an upcoming release so much, that the actual release is somewhat of a letdown [see my review of Weezer's new disc.] Sometimes you dread even opening packages from labels, fearing the commitment of repeated listens to whatever is inside. And then sometimes, just sometimes, a CD gets to you that makes you feel like music is alive and well all over again. Joshua's "The Teardrop Trio" is that CD. I know "emo" has been catching tremendous amounts of flak lately, but kids, if you like Jimmy Eat World, No Knife, and bands of that ilk, please don't pass up on this.
What Love Requires