Love It More Than You Could Ever Know, a sentiment all too familiar to a mind in adolescent euphoria, and the appropriate title for Stabbing Joy’s first release.
The album is six tracks of music that are as warmly coloured as the shores of the band’s homeland in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. It’s fitting that the album was recorded in vocalist Justice Jones’ bedroom and drummer Luke Pound’s basement during the band’s second year of college. Their music induces the endorphins that come from that period in life: the one and only time uncertainty is any fun.
Instrumentally, the content of the album has a unique grain to it; rub it one way for a smooth, gold finish and the other for the brash distortion that your parents will loathe. The guitar leads provide a glimmer of mature overtones, but the remaining ensemble leaves any prospects of completely crossing that horizon behind with a ruckus of overdriven chords and rowdy garage-rock drums.
The placement and titles of the album such as ‘We’ll Play For Rent’ and ‘Prom Night, 1981’ push a tight concept for the album. However, the tracks stand sturdily on their own, each with their own anthemic gestures towards various youthful hijinks. Together, they form a passionate score worthy of an 80’s movie, and if John Hughes was alive today, he would struggle to hold back a tear.
Pumping the arteries on all tracks is vocalist Justice Jones, who plays around with his voice, manipulating it to create a third dimension of imagery in the music. By tightening and loosening his vocal style, Jones cuts into the album’s aesthetic through phonic storytelling, re-creating the state of mind and the voice that became the lyrics. The track ‘Wasted,’ for example, features a section where Jones channels the spirit of Sum 41’s Deryck Whibley and adds an exaggerated, mawkish tone to his voice as it spirals into a blur. Thus, he creates the illusion for the audience of being in a drunken stupor. It’s one thing to sing from experience, it is another to sing to re-create an experience, and Jones nailed it.
With this album, Stabbing Joy makes it clear that they will go and grow with their music, making it no younger or older than they are. This is a conscious decision that will continue to pay off in the form of honest works like this one, embracing themselves now as they stand and not looking too far ahead.