By Sharan Sethi
Maybe this is cynical but it sometimes makes me nervous when the bands I really like release new music. I always get worried that maybe this will be the album that jumps the shark. So that is why I waited from June 10th until now to finally listen to Joyce Manor’s new album 40 oz. to Fresno.
The album is only 16 minutes long in classic Joyce Manor style. This album is covid baby, having initially begun recording nearly two years before it was released in June of 2022. I have always thought that Joyce Manor lives somewhere between punk and emo and this album is a perfect illustration of that. The music remains loud and the lyrics stay intentionally meaningful. My favorite example of this was in either the third track “Reason to Believe” or the fifth track “Don’t Try”.
The fourth track “You’re Not Famous Anymore” initially stood out to me because the title seemed to allude back to the song “Famous Friend” off their 2013 Self Titled album. The song isn’t necessarily a sequel, but similar to its predecessor, it tells a very clear story. Maybe I have been watching too much Bojack Horseman lately, but it reminded me of Sarah Lynn.
Nonetheless, I was worried that the album didn’t have Barry Johnson’s vocals as loud and raw as they have been in the past. Then what became my favorite song on the album came on: “Gotta Let It Go”. I’ve always been a sucker for screaming in the middle of a song and this song delivered! Between the lyrics and the musicality, it hit many of my favorite marks of emo and punk. Rightfully, this is the most stream song on the album so far.
The album ends with the song “Secret Sisters”. This song is severely underrated. It is currently the least streamed song but honestly my second favorite. When I first heard the song, it felt like an ode to their past sound in the best way. I wasn’t surprised to find out that it was actually an unreleased song from Never Hungover Again. The entire album was written around matching the sound of this song, so it seems ironic that it is the least popular.
Overall this album is a great way to spend 16 minutes (and maybe a couple repeats). I’m excited to hear some of these songs live because Joyce Manor is coming to the catalyst with PUP in March.