Joie De Vivre / Prawns – Split EP
Record Label: Topshelf Records/Count Your Lucky Stars Records
Release Date: February 11, 2014
Although Joie De Vivre opens this five-song split with Prawn, their first words can work equally well for both bands. Over a hypnotically sad guitar movement, lead singer Brandon Lutmer yelps out, “And I didn’t come back / To anything that I didn’t already know.” Despite stylistic differences between these two emo bands (Prawn is much more, instrumental in their approach), their hearts are in the same place. Which is to say, focused on the past and barely scraping by in the present.
But both bands do experiment, not content to let the constraints of rock music keep them from making actual music. From the trumpet denouement of Joie De Vivre’s “Tenspopet” to the beautifully simple ringing guitar tones and violins of Prawn’s “Why You Always Leave A Note,” both bands believe in the notion that a great song can come from anywhere. And as someone who really only found resonance in the louder, jammier tunes from Prawn previously, Joie De Vivre have turned me around. It’s the wonderful thing about splits - get us in the door and then turn us into family.
Obviously there is a lot of pleading on an album like this, coming most prominently from Joie De Vivre, but it always feels real. Whereas JDV is more literal (“You weren’t even with me half the time”), Prawn are fittingly ethereal (“If I fractured in two / Let me fracture with you.”) So there’s still flow and cohesion, between songs and even bands. But most importantly on a release like this, you get to hear friends helping each other out, just as they help out so many of us.
Recommended If You Like: Sunny Day Real Estate, Mineral, TWIABP, new Moving Mountains