My Heart to Joy - Seasons in Verse (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

My Heart to Joy

Seasons in Verse (2009)


My Heart to Joy's cited influences are common enough in this scene -- Jawbreaker, Braid, Sunny Day Real Estate -- but instead of being satisfied with acting as a glorified tribute act as so many of their contemporaries unfortunately do, these guys are bringing something incredibly unique and refreshing to the table with Seasons in Verse, a record that sees a band that was once brimming with potential doing the unlikely thing and largely realizing said potential.

After a somewhat conventional instrumental intro, "Empty Homes" sets the table for what's to come with angular, sweeping guitars, frenetic drumming and distantly yelled vocals. MHTJ reel in the organized chaos a little bit for most of the title track, but the last 30 seconds or so see the band in full-on rocking mode, cymbals crashing hard and guitars noodling about as fast as they can be noodled; most bands who try to pull off this sort of thing fall flat on their faces, but My Heart to Joy do it rather effortlessly. The drum fills on "All of Life Is Coming Home" are rather impressive, carrying the song and making the buildups all the more exciting with each beat.

"Giving My Hands Away" is a real standout track; once you get past the freakishly impressive drum fill that carries the first part of the song (seriously, I'd have a better chance performing successful brain surgery than air-drumming my way through that), the guitars twinkle without losing focus and the vocals here are earnest and passionate, just how they need to be for this sort of song to work.

My Heart to Joy also do an admirable job of breathing new life into the Guided by Voices classic "Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory," turning what was a lo-fi, minimalist pop song in its original version and morphing it into a huge, sweeping anthem that seems to fit in with the entire scope of Seasons In Verse without a hitch.

The only gripe to be found on Seasons in Verse is that while the band does exhibit top-notch instrumentation and their compositions are nearly always interesting, the tempo doesn't change much from song to song (the only glaring exception being the deliberately paced closing track "Watch Me Live"), which might cause some listeners to space out at times. That's small potatoes, though, and there's so much more to like about this band and record that even pointing that out seems like a reach. Possessing the intricate stylings of a band like Look Mexico meshed with the crunch and urgency of a band like Polar Bear Club, My Heart to Joy is primed to become a force to be reckoned with in the nuevo-emo scene with Seasons in Verse. Get used to hearing their name.


Asbestos Records is handling the vinyl release.