Drunk With Joy

Is it Xmas? Not that I’ve noticed, so why have I got a present in front of me all black and shiny, topped off with a little black bow? Truth be told I’ve been eyeballing this CD for some time with mixed feelings – while the package looks so inviting, its arty cover and potentially pretentious title left me hesitant to find out what was hiding underneath.

In other words I was expecting nothing less then 45 minutes of sort of mood music which leaves you drained and in need of an adrenaline injection. However, like most first impressions, I was wrong.

‘Travelling Light’ opens the album with Dido-eque vocals lying on top of a poppy but edgy synth mix. It’s a simply constructed song which rolls from verse to chorus with ease and washes over you like a summer shower, albeit with an unsettling sprinkling of acid rain to keep you on edge. Moody yes, but no pick-me ups needed here.

However, any remaining feelings of justification are soon dispersed when second track, ‘Our Friends The Actors’ jumps up to show me how wrong I was. Starting in a deceptively mellow mood, Mila Oshin’s voice starts to flex it’s vocal muscles by taking on an Annie Lennox quality, being both piercing and rangey. But with the arrival of the bridge ( and then the chorus) comes the appearance of the drums and guitars respectively, which kick this track up to a completely different level – a level not hinted at by the opener. Brooding and dark with some decent hooks, this is a great track and one which shows what Drunk with Joy are capable of.

Fortunately the dark industrial melodic vibe doesn’t stop there. Warping into life like something from lifted from the Alien soundtrack, ‘Woman’ is another hooky tune with serious sentiments and a scarey musical underbelly. The lyrics talk of the multiple roles of modern woman with poignant lines such as ‘you put your make-up on but you can’t make up your mind what face to wear’. Food for though maybe, but its Kris Jager’s wonderful atmospheric and stabbing synth work that really makes the whole thing work in a more creative and fresh way then it otherwise should.

There are plenty of other tracks of note on this 12 song effort – not least ‘The Beginning’ with its dual layered vocal and haunting melody, the trip-hoppy, light and dark of ‘Go In Stay In Tune’ and the title track, ‘Sound Living’, encompassing a smattering fat beats with uplifting synths and vocals.

In all this is an accomplished and altogether original effort from this London based duo, which takes inspiration from a handful of well respected sources. Or put another way, if late Depeche Mode met early Eurythmics at a Nine Inch Nails gig and went home to make love with Dido playing in the background, they’d make sweet music like this.

Habert
Pete Habert was sub-editor for The Mag and co-ordinated submissions from the swarm of writers that contributed articles from their local music scenes.