Joie de Vivre - The North End (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Joie de Vivre

Joie de Vivre: The North End

The North End (2010)

Count Your Lucky Stars


3
What was said about Joie de Vivre's prior EP, Summer Months, largely applies to their debut full-length: The North End, while a little more sonically polished and musically stronger, still finds Joie de Vivre trudging through heavy-hearted emo via gentle twinkles and slow, distorted riffs. Basically...

What was said about Joie de Vivre's prior EP, Summer Months, largely applies to their debut full-length: The North End, while a little more sonically polished and musically stronger, still finds Joie de Vivre trudging through heavy-hearted emo via gentle twinkles and slow, distorted riffs. Basically, it's Mineral worship at its finest.

Bass-wielding frontman Brandon Lutmer remains as earnest and occasionally tortured as ever, but the mood is lightened and American Football-ized thanks to backup vocalist Paul Karnatz offering punchy hornlines on drifting cuts like "Upper Deck San Diego" and "Next Year Will Be Better." I mean, Lutmer is still pretty cutthroat honest regardless of the atmosphere, though. Take this admission in the latter of those songs: "It's unfair to suggest that there's even a chance that I get through this."

Lutmer's painful emoting rides a precious tightrope that stays on the side of endearing thanks to The North End's fairly concise approach: 11 tracks, 36 minutes. You might love EndSerenading, but it goes almost 50 in 10, and Joie de Vivre probably know better than to try and test such lengthy waters. They find a pretty solid climax in the 3:45 "One in the Same"; it's good, though the modest recording keeps it from really hitting home the way an Ed Rose or Kevin Ratterman--and a more expensive set of pedals--might have made it explode.

The North End more than solidifies Joie de Vivre's role in '90s emo revival. There can be some wildly varying degrees of success in such a method, and while Joie de Vivre are progressing with indelible, subtle restraint, they're making a very decent dent in it themselves.

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The North End