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

Joie de Vivre

The North End (2010)

Count Your Lucky Stars

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.

The North End