Review: Joyfield – ‘Honey’

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I’m not sure when “easy listening” became such a downer, but if you want to talk about a debut EP that’s just super easy to listen to, you should look at Seattle indie-pop band Joyfield‘s Honey. The five-track EP represents the band’s first professionally-recorded release, and it’s production features plenty of unique nuances, powerful vocals, and catchy hooks that are, frankly, just easy to listen to.

The EP is a bit of everything. It’s not pure pop, or rock, or folk. The members of Joyfield have put together five tracks that pull from clear alternative influences like Metric and Kings of Leon. And the tracks flow well together. Opener “Blood Brothers” has a bluesy feel, a tambourine line, and a twangy melody. And with lyrics like “the color TV, playing cars, running naked ’round the yard/and we were wild and young at heart/as I recall the world was ours” they really capture the feeling of fleeting, free youth and a promise of forever friendship.

The rollicking tempo of that opener, which ends in screaming guitars and crashing cymbals, leads into the manic start of “Steady Hands.” A pleading “please be sweet tonight” against an alt-rock background still rocks a slight folksy flair. Vocalist Ellie Hanes has a strong voice, and doesn’t hold back going from soft to full rock chick vocals, and the production keeps her at the forefront, which is a nice highlight.

“Racing Hearts” takes it just one notch into more indie-pop territory, with big beats and a more electronic feel. The video the band just released for it features plenty of youthful hi-jinks and glitter, and feels just like the loose, adrenaline-fueled fun conveyed in the track. It’s a cinematic, hooky track that I imagine popping up in a coming-of-age film with ease, but it rocks nonetheless.

Melodious title-track “Honey” again plays off similar themes with lyrics like “Get the cash and run” and “drinking with my rent again/who needs home when you got friends.” The youthful exuberance and freewheeling attitude match the driving melody and danceable beat. And on album closer “The Wild” the band really hammer their sound home.

Joyfield have definitely, after five years together, found their sound. Grand prize winners of Hard Rock Rising’s 2014 Battle of the Bands, the foursome are clearly headed for some hits. Their sound is right up the alt-pop radio alley alongside groups like MisterWives or The Colourist, and they’ve pulled together Honey to properly showcase what they’ve got to offer. It’s a well constructed debut from a Seattle band ready to be heard.

(You can stream “Honey” at bandcamp below and purchase it HERE.)

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