This self-titled EP is an interesting offering from a band that clearly wants to be seen as unconventional. Spawning from a solo project conceived by frontman Leif, The Joykill Collective is an amalgamation of musicians, filmmakers and other artists, with a “shared dissatisfaction” with right-wing politics and media. Having previously lived together in a “musician’s commune,” the members have been scattered across the world, drawing inspiration from life in the UK, Kazakhstan and China.
Opening track, Liberty Taker, stands out as the EP’s highlight. Leif is sounding at his very best here and his distinctive voice serves as the driving force of the song, soaring over the clangy, indie-rock guitars. Spacey, harmony-laden and discordant, Liberty Taker is well crafted and accessible, with a particularly strong chorus. The band also recently released an eerie accompanying music video, with a storyline of Alan Moore-esque masked figures, contrasting against vivid city backdrops.
The rest of the EP, whilst not quite as strong as the opener, still showcases the band’s musical diversity. Both Game Over and Battle Cry are atmospheric and effect laden in parts, whilst discordant in others. The choruses in both sound very pop-punk; blending clean harmonies, melodious guitars and driving drum-beats.
Penultimate track Lies & Gold, is soft and melodious, with the harmonies and delicate swirling guitars working well in unison. The vocals occasionally become off-key, but this gives the track an air of fragility and earnest. The production on the album is imperfect. The guitars sound slightly out of tune throughout and there are moments of jarring vocals, but this seems to have been an intentional decision. To sound too polished would be unfitting with the DIY aesthetic of the band.
Angsty and passionate, Joykill Collective are a band with potential and they have touched upon something interesting with their debut offering. They have captured an intriguing aesthetic, but the project is still in need of refinement. This is a band still finding their sound. However, this is a promising EP and with a future full album in the pipeline, it will be interesting to see the project evolve.