CD Review

Drunk With Joy – “Sound Living”

By Marcus Pan

Sound LivingOpening much poppier than my usual review submissions, Drunk With Joy infuse their music with a definite lightheartedness that echoes the outfit’s name. Scheduled for release on December 5th of this year[1], Sound Living is the release of Drunk With Joy duo Kris Jager and Mila Oshin. This album is a year in the making and out on A Maze Records in the UK. Billed occasionally as “cerebro rock”[2], their sound is a collaboration of electro-synth, diva-style vocals and new-wave influence.

I really enjoy Our Friends the Actors, with a truly refreshing slide-scale rhythm during chorus parts with brilliant harmonies based on Mila’s alto vocals, sung alone with sultriness and nonchalance and harmonized with power and feeling. But it’s the brush-streaked drumming of the track that really makes it worthwhile for me. While overall poppy, Sound Living gets into a bit of deep electro with such strains as Woman, which includes a deep resonating bass movement which sounds great against Mila’s lower-pitch female vocals. I love, again, what they do with the rhythms and sliding synthetics.

Getting robotically funky, I’m on Fire is actually a lot slower moving than one would expect given the name. It’s almost cheekily slow moving, with dragging bass synth washes and light airy teases of movement above. Tracks in the center of Sound Living are good, but don’t stand out as much as the previous mentioned. One issue could be the five minute length of Lullaby – a good song, but a shorter song it should have been methinks. The Beginning comes in and drums out another interesting rhythm movement that is laced with standard fare, but well played, keyboard chords. It only starts to fade from interest near the end due to its lack of change.

Go In Stay In Tune In has for some reason a surreal quality to it leant by the background dark keys – I envision an after dark carnival somehow that grows around you, tents erecting and weird clowns pedaling by, Mila as a central figure speaking the lyrics at you while Kris bandies about a chair and top hat as a silent but integral ringmaster. As the controlled guitar strains step up the elephants trundle past and the white tigers try and steal the cotton candy – which is dark purple – from the younger members of the audience. Figure that one out. This is contrasted against the deep resonating sorrow of London Tears next.

Just to keep us from drowning in it though, Drunk With Joy close Sound Living with a bounce-laden tune named after the album. Bright, fluorescent melodies traipse through a field of poppies not unlike the scene from The Wizard of Oz. It’s a no-shoe-wearing romp, which quite frankly is a terrible thing for a goth to say and so I’m going to stop here because no-shoe-wearing romps[3] are extremely not goth. Fortunately a bit of metal is laced into Sound Living, but somehow it’s still pretty – the silver iron latticework of some far-off crystal palace rising into a brightened sky. Bonus Not to Forget is simply beautifully sung and I have no imagery to go with it because Mila’s vocals here are an aural vision in their own right.

Drunk With Joy was a fine receipt for me, considering the abysmal nature of today’s underground wanna-bes. I’m not going to go into names on that, but I will say that when I receive something that really stands out like Sound Living it’s usually due to the fact that everything around it sounds about the same – Legends seems to go through “industrial” periods and “goth rock” periods and similar spurts of same-same. Sound Living sounds great, differentiates itself from electro-pop of the day by keeping it a tad more aggressive and certainly darker aesthetically, romp notwithstanding, and it sounds like they really did spend that entire year locked up in Blackdown Hills working on music.

Contact Information:
LAP Management
Post: PO Box 158, Exeter EX2 4WZ, United Kingdom
Phone: +0044 (0) 1392 22 15 13
[1] In a previous review I mentioned I should get a blowjob for being within a month of release date regardless of how many submissions Legends now receives. Now that I’m at the point where I’m reviewing to-be-released albums, I should simply get a free lay. Not necessarily from Drunk With Joy – just generally speaking.
[2] A term which I find to be a bit generic, but cutesy.
[3] Unless it involves my requested sex, see above. Seems I’m pre-occupied today, hmm?