Joy For All is out now.
“Oh joy” is an ambiguous phrase. It can be sarcastic, in earnest, or frustrated. It can probably be a lot more in between. As such it is the perfect moniker for this Dublin based alternative rock trio. There music is certainly heartfelt and in earnest, however, there is also a hint of bitterness and sarcasm in places, while the music itself expounds frustration, in places, and resignation in others.
Ultimately, their debut EP Joy For All is an exploration of all this, essentially the human condition, through the medium of loudQUIETloud dynamics and healthy dose of heart on the sleeve passion. We spoke to the group about the tracks that comprise the EP. Read and listen.
1. Habits & Recreations
This song kind of came out of nowhere and is easily one of our oldest tunes. John used to play guitar in a different band that we were in and he wrote the whole thing. All that was left was a vocal melody and some dynamics shifting. Lyrically I guess it stems from distaste at old romantic interests “settling down” as it were. We have been playing it for about 2 years now. Since we started Oh Joy around this time last year, our music and writing has changed a lot but somehow this song stayed in our set for a comparatively long time. It’s always fun to play live and people seem to respond well to it.
2. Dead Bee
Dead bee is absolutely a favourite of ours. It came about when we were totally changing our style, and Oh Joy actually formed. We went into the studio to record 6 tracks for an EP and we scrapped everything except this. It was recorded live, but that wasn’t the intention. After we tracked it live to get the drums down we just realised that it had a really nice raw edge to it. Its one of my favourite songs in terms of lyrics and meaning. I really like songs that take a while for lyrics to appear. I spent nearly 3 months trying to write something good, which I hope I did. The ending is an absolute blast to play live; just total chaos and noise. We usually play it first in the set to set the tone. The name of the song has nothing to do with the content. We record with Liam Mulvaney in Bow Lane and he said the song sounded like Jeff Buckley, and Jeff is dead, so we named it dead “B”, for Buckley in honour of Jeff, and then it just became Dead Bee. John once had an idea to distribute copies of Dead Bee with an actual dead bee inside each limited-edition copy, but various animal rights and conservation groups had strong words with us and it never emerged. What a shame.
3. Peter the Nothing
This was one of the more singer-songwriter songs we recorded for the EP. It is a little more contained than most of the songs we play. I think we just got into this vibe of writing really melodic stuff for a while and this was the result. I’m not sure if this makes it into our set these days, but we certainly still enjoy it. “Peter” is a reference to this story about a king who found his wife cheating on him with his own brother, so he cut off his brother’s head and placed it in a glass jar, to be viewed be his wife every time she wakes up. A singer called Andy Hull wrote a song in the same vain, but from the perspective of the dead head in the glass jar, which I always thought was cool. So yeah, nice and cheery subject matter.
4. Bless You
This is definitely one of the simplest songs we have ever written, but I think we enjoyed the simplicity of it when we wrote it. It is what it is I guess. “Bless you” is actually a reference to the speed at which the song was finished. Almost like we sneezed and it was just done.
Around the time that we reformed as Oh Joy, I had been recording some demos in my attic, most of which were just massive heaps of mopey bullshit that no one would ever listen to. But I wrote Mons and showed it to John and Alex and they put a different spin on it that sounded great. The bassline is pretty sinister, and the guitars have a cool twangy vibe to it which definitely made it sound less like a song you wish you hadn’t listened to. Lyrically, I really enjoyed writing it. It has a sincere theme about a smothering and suffocating dynamic. If you managed to listen to the whole EP and not fall into a state of total depression, then you’re in for a surprise; this will also depress you.
Find Oh Joy on Facebook.