I Meant To Listen To: Joywave, “Koda Vista”

I’ve been a pretty big fan of the band Joywave for some time now. I was fortunate to catch their opening set when they played with Holy Ghost! at the Sinclair in Harvard Square in 2014. It was there that I was blown away by their stage presence and their fun, catchy songs. Naturally after the show, I did the whole follow them on social media thing and tried to gather as much content as possible without overdoing it like a creep. Normal behavior things!

In 2015, the band released their first full-length album, How Do You Feel Now? It was here that their pop sensibilities and their knack for carving out a unique presence in an endless sea of thousands of acts. On this album, the band began using footnotes to sickeningly fabulous levels. As someone who used to wrote horribly obtuse blogs on MySpace using a criminally absurd amount of parentheses, it only cemented my love for Joywave.

What also cemented my love for this band, besides the great tunes and the dazzling music videos, is how they play by their own rules – regardless of who is in the crosshairs. Joywave has been known to play an entire set playing one specific song seven times in a row just to reprimand someone in the crowd for yelling “Free Bird” at an opening band. In 2016, they released Swish, which was also the rumored name for the long-awaited album by Kanye West. In true Joywave fashion, Swish was basically an eight-song remix of the song “Destruction”. The bonus track, however, “Life In A Bubble I Blew” is a fantastic song.

It’s been a couple years since their last album, Content, has been released. Some singles have been released, and I am not sure if they will be included on this next record, but all signs point to another strong effort.

So, what’s a fan to do? Perhaps I should check out Joywave’s earlier work. So that led me to their 2012 release, Koda Vista.

I find it interesting to go back to the band’s earlier work without ever hearing it to see how much differently it sounds. Obviously it does sound different, but again, it really doesn’t vary too much to how they are now. The sound has been there from the beginning, and while it’s only been seven years, the growth has been noticeable.

After the blissful opening number “A.M.”, “Who Do You Like?” boldly makes its presence known in a short few bars. Like I said before, the boisterous attitude of the band has been there since the beginning. “Golden State” has moments in it where it’s like someone sounding like The Cars, but done right and “True Grit” feels a bit like The Cure.

It’s in these early stages of Koda Vista that you can tell where they evolved to create songs such as “Doubt” and “It’s A Trip!“. As a band who has grown into a more fuller sound with immense song structures, all in a relatively short time, I am eagerly anticipating their next album. If the latest singles “Obsession” and “Like A Kennedy” are any indication, very big things may be on the horizon for Joywave.

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