If Pastel and Pass Out sounds like some weird advice about what to do after you’ve had a few too many, then you’re already on the right track with the new EP from No Joy. The concise three-track collection from the Montreal collective is subdued, melancholy, and totally transportive in vibe, making for one perfectly soundtracked end-of-night (or early morning) come down.
Led by Jasamine White-Gluz and Laura Lloyd, No Joy have been successfully cultivating their shoegaze sound since the band’s 2010 debut, Ghost Blonde, and have only been growing in subtle power since that time. This year’s sophomore effort Wait To Pleasure was rich in melody and full of lush, yet precise, instrumentals, often a rare combination when it comes to shoegaze. Pastel and Pass Out lead single “Last Boss” only proves that these ladies are ready to push the envelope even further; soft and dreamy, the dynamic track is a journey through crunching guitars and rhythmic bass lines, ending with a mysterious ellipsis of a conclusion.
Soon, “Starchild is Dead” surges ahead, a weighty and pretty benchmark between “Last Boss” and final track “Second Spine.” The headbang-worthy middle section of “Starchild is Dead” begs for live performance, sure to be fierce and shreddy the whole way through. With a driving drum beat and gentle background cooing, “Second Spine” concludes on a more pop-influenced note, proving that No Joy’s take on shoegaze is malleable, and never static.
It’s rare that a three-song EP sounds so full, but No Joy achieve true harmony in just twelve minutes on Pastel and Pass Out. Like that soothing glass of cool water after a booze-fueled night of fun, these tracks go down light, easy, and satisfying. Though there’s already a new LP in the works, for now, Pastel and Pass Out fits the bill quite nicely.