Joyce Manor, “Never Hungover Again”

Joyce-Manor_Never-Hungover-AgainJoyce Manor
Never Hungover Again
EPITAPH
7/10

Pop-punk becomes something of a guilty pleasure the older you get, but Joyce Manor’s Never Hungover Again is a pummeling reminder of the rewards when the genre’s done well. In case the booze and drugs have blurred over your brain cells, the Torrance, California, foursome is here to remind you: the past can be a fucking pain to revisit. In a twenty-minute set of ten wrenching anthems wherein the days of youth reign supreme, these punks pack the punches in. Nostalgia resurrects futile attempts to get things right. “I don’t know what you tried to tell me / You know I think about it still,” singer Barry Johnson confesses on the album opener “Christmas Card,” later admitting, “Regret the choices that I made / I know it doesn’t matter now,” on the minute-and-a-half “Victoria.” There’s beauty in the emotional chaos, too, on the awesomely angsty “Falling In Love Again” and lead single “Schley,” which both boast an impressive balance of the kind of cathartic aggressiveness Joyce Manor unleashes in small bursts, but uses the tracks’ relative lengthiness (of two-and-a-half-plus minutes) to show off the band’s melodic aptitude. Youth isn’t wasted on the young—it just gets them wasted.

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