reviewed by Kaitlin Ruether
Imagine looking at life, for all its personal experiences and beautiful moments, with sparkle-tinted glasses. Not rose-coloured, nothing so manipulative, but lenses with just enough glitter to make everything a little brighter. Life isn’t always sparkly, but Joy Scouts finds the magic in introspection on the debut merit EP.
Beginning with the hazy synths of “Clinical Solution”, Joy Scouts delves into herself: “I’m not as condescending as I seem / I take everything everyone says seriously.” The song unfolds humbly and honestly and the percussion pulls the opposite of a breakdown — a togethering — halfway through the track for a burst of emphasis. Her sweet soprano becomes a light to follow through the mist.
Moving from the dizzy to the playful, “Pirouette” has a chip tune line that adds a concreteness. A modern day music box complete with twisting and twirling dancer figurine. The mid-point track “Tigress” features pop-quick vocals and a lead synth that, again, holds back on the haziness in favour of sticky hopping.
Within the delicate and glittery musical compositions are lyrical themes that suggest a tiredness with the way love is presented in music. “Tigress” edges on violence in its descriptions of doomed relationships. “Peel (Rearrangements)” is the closest thing to a love song on merit EP, but Joy Scouts acknowledges her predicament: “Why bother having love if it’s misrepresented?”.
merit EP ends so far from where it began: now fully rounded with beats and pop melodies, there’s a confidence that was hinted at on “Clinical Solution” — a completeness to the journey. “Bus Song” ends suddenly, and leaves you alone with your newfound sparkly take on this big, complicated world.
Top Track: “Tigress”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)