Written by Maria Arroyo
Alternative rock group, No Joy, brings their newest creation into existence with their new album, Motherhood, out now. Bringing this project to life is frontwoman and songwriter, Jasamine White-Gluz, multi-instrumentalist and co-producer, Jorge Elbrecht, and other musicians, including Tara McLeod (guitar and banjo), Alissa White-Gluz (vocals), Jeremy Dabrowski (percussion, multi-instrumentalist), and Jamie Thompson (drums). Motherhood is described as a “culmination of years composing outside of her comfort zone, and a return to.” White-Gluz also mentions some similarities between her new work and that of Sheila Heti’s book also titled Motherhood.
“Birthmark” is the opening track, which opens us to a very eclectic mix of sounds that layer onto one another to create this track. Turning up the pressure is her next song “Dream Rats” with a more aggressive sounding approach that adds a bit of a bite or edge to the album. Something that becomes pretty clear throughout the album is that sometimes the vocals get pushed back behind the mix, leaving listeners in a difficult position of not being able to hear the lyrics at almost every section of the song. Unfortunately, it’s a huge downside because it’s almost as if the lyrics are hiding beneath the sound, so the story that she was so badly trying to tell, can’t be told.
Clearing up the very muddy waters of this album is “Nothing Will Hurt.” The direction becomes much more clearer, and the overall intention of the album comes to the surface. “Four” still carries some of that heavier sound from the earlier songs, but with an interesting transition into more modern hip-hop inspired sound. There’s even a hint of some 90’s era inspirations that adds another unique element to the song. The switch between all of these different ideas I think is what makes this album different from others.
Her next songs “Why Mothers Die” and “Happy Bleeding” both showcase an eerie and haunting like the energy that really enhanced the album. There were also some really interesting futuristic-inspired vibes going on, paired with some sonically-surprising sounds. The song intrigued me more than anything, even if the vocals were the most important thing at a given time.
“Signal Lights” became another difficult one for me. While a lot of the songs on Motherhood were created with numerous layers, this song just had one too many. Trying to mentally differentiate them all became exhausting because, in the end, they all just seemed to blend together.
Adding a more universal aspect to the album is her next song “Fish.” The cultural feel to the song really brightened up the overall sound and softened up a bit of the harshness as well. Closing out the album is “Kidder.” This became one of the few songs where the vocals were actually at the forefront of the music. Even though the vocal direction swayed from its path, this final track definitely brought it back on course. The objective is clear, and the meaning pure and simple.
Motherhood is a great example of needing to explore the untouched depths of the sonic world. There’s a lot to uncover, and a lot left still buried beneath our imagination.
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