Deep Joy can either refer to the feeling I get when a new Expwy album comes out, or it might just apply to how much goddamn fun Matt LeGroulx and company are having on this album.
Last year was a very busy year for LeGroulx, who managed to release who-knows-how-many albums, and each album had something unique about it; one masterfully melded indie-rock and bossa nova while another was a double EP whose separate sides could be played simultaneously.
This year has been a little quieter for Expwy releases, but Matt LeGroulx hasn’t been resting, having released the excellent Galaxius Mons LP at the beginning of the year with Ian Jarvis of Chairs, who again joins LeGroulx on this new album. This new Expwy album’s distinguishing feature is undoubtedly the airtight song structures; every song seems to have a hook that can easily dig in, and the songs themselves never let themselves get bloated with meaningless.
As per usual, LeGroulx’s enigmatic song titles haven’t gone anywhere; like “Erect a southern gate,” a song that gives the album a dreamy, slower break after a bunch of uptempo, rocking cuts; or “Sterilize the warden under the cover of darkness,” a song about a prisoner escaping a Mexican jail to see his “very pregnant wife,” with the song itself switching between heavy guitars and catchy keyboards.
But seriously, just try not to get the chorus of “In her hand, trembling love (savage festival)” out of your head. Or try not to be transported to somewhere warm and sunny with the inescapably happy “Porthole marriage dance (I love Montreal).” Or to be utterly charmed by the incredible vocal harmonies in “Split a hair above the summer sky.”
Whatever it was that changed between last year and now, these are the best Expwy songs to date, and that’s saying something. There’s just something so refreshingly earnest about this record—there’s no superfluous bullshit. It’s just bright and colourful rock that really needs no qualification.
Top Tracks: “In her hand, trembling love (savage festival)”; “Split a hair above the summer sky”; “Porthole marriage dance (I Love Montreal)”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good) +*swoop*