Slab Review: No Joy’s “Drool Sucker”

No Joy - Drool Sucker

With More Faithful having celebrated its first birthday only a month ago, No Joy unleashes Drool Sucker, an electrifying and sublime 3-song EP that ushers in an experimental era for the noise-pop workhorses.

 

Boosted by air-tight production from the boys of Holy Fuck, Drool Sucker is a game of bi-polar ping-pong, a mini-epic that makes you lose yourself in no time flat. While heavy mood swings and a knack for rendering time irrelevant are in No Joy’s DNA, Drool Sucker—the first in a planned series of EPs—brings a lot of new stuff to the table without compromising the band’s raw, benevolent power.

 

After a snippet of a failed prank phone call and a distorted beat kick things off, “A Thorn in Garland’s Side” rockets straight to the stratosphere. As one of No Joy’s busiest and—dare I say it?—happiest songs ever, it shakes your foundation with peppy, rumbling riffs, Jasamine White-Gluz’s semi-perceptible lyrics (which include lots of “hey-oh”s), care-free guitar noodling, and frenetic drumming from the guy immortalized in the title.

 

No Joy
No Joy: Garland Hastings (d), Jasamine White-Gluz (g/v), Michael Farsky (b), and Laura Lloyd (g)

The fun doesn’t last forever—this is No Joy, after all—and the whole thing eventually collapses into a sad, desolate mess. Talk about pulling the plug on the party.

 

Something similar happens on “XO (Adam’s Getting Married),” which drops like a bomb and takes off with runaway momentum. But it’s a fake-out: 30 seconds in, the song slows to a smoky crawl as a drowsy White-Gluz makes a plea to be left alone, completely negating the cheeriness of the title (turns out the song is rooted in post-tour stress). When the song finally picks itself up off the floor, White-Gluz summons the strength to shoo the gloom away with some super-catchy vocals that come straight out of left field. The moment is brief, but it’ll be lodged in your cranium for days.

 

So if stress sparks creativity and drives one to take risks, doesn’t it also stir up a longing for the familiar? Enter the aptly-titled “Theme Song,” a murky tearjerker that’s the most “classic” No Joy entry on Drool Sucker.

 

Don’t misinterpret that, though. While “Garland” and “XO” overflow with new, well-executed ideas, the band saves the best for last on “Theme Song.”

 

In a truly notable first, White-Gluz leaps outside her comfort zone and darn near howls in a show of restrained jubilation. The bridge, however, lingers on the darker side of things. Featuring a couple of spoken-word samples battling it out atop a cyclical melody and minimalist guitar work, it evokes a feeling of profound anxiety, which had previously gone unheard in the No Joy catalogue.

 

All this, and the EP doesn’t even hit the 10-minute mark.

 

Which is why the answer to the question that White-Gluz repeats at the end of “Theme Song”—”Where do you run to?”—comes so easily: I run to Drool Sucker, over and over again, because trying to resist something that satisfies so deeply in so little time is just kind of a dumb thing to do.

 

So what are you waiting for? Drink the Drool-Aid already. This cult’s one of the good ones.

 

Released: July 15, 2016

Label: Top Shelf Records

 

Related Interview: “Swimming at the Aquarium”: No Joy’s Jasamine White-Gluz Talks Drool Sucker, Hate Mail from Alien Abductees, and Deftones

 

-Jason Mosheim

@jasonmosheim

 

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