Review by Mark Bartlett.
It’s early January and, with all the fantastic music of 2018 still fresh in our hearts and ears, The Overjoyed have fired a spectacularly catchy and fun starting pistol for what will no doubt be an even better 2019.
For those of you who enjoy making lists (much like myself) you’d do well to check out this fantastic slice of pop-punk n’roll immediately; as well as pop a note in your diary to remember it for your end of year considerations, as I don’t foresee more than a handful of albums being able to match both the catchiness and consistency of this record.
The Overjoyed are a four-piece hailing from Athens, Greece, and I feel they’re somewhat underrated in the UK. Given the strength of the material on offer here, I can’t imagine them being much of a secret for long, though (London’s finest The Burnt Tapes recently concluded an eventful tour of Greece with them that you can read about here).
Aced Out has been released via Nasty Cut Records and is their 2nd album following 2016’s Boomdoggle. It was born after having spent a few months in their practice space, a few months with laryngitis and another few in the studio, and is a real evolution in both the maturity of song writing of quality of production.
Opener Big Red Rocket Ship impresses immediately by reminding me of what I found so thrilling about Rocket From The Crypt’s The State Of Art Is On Fire era of greatness. Lack of horn section aside, I think The Overjoyed share a few very positive common factors with John Reis and his gang. The Overjoyed have a sound that takes the fundamentals of rock and roll and all the swagger, sex and danger that goes hand in hand with that, and skilfully marry it to modern punk and very catchy pop-punk hooks. On this album at least, they also have a slight twinge of a B-movie, sci-fi horror aesthetic with the cool, pulpy album art and maniacal laughter featured on a few tracks. All of this is best evidenced on the title track Aced Out which really demonstrates the above to spectacular effect.
There’s something about modern pop-punk and battling with metal health issues that seems intrinsically woven together – as though a combination of social media and world events has developed a sort of like minded DIY hive mind – The Overjoyed lyrically are definitely on the pulse of what a lot of modern punk bands are currently musing on. Theme-wise, Aced Out isn’t really wading into any new waters in tackling the general feelings of alienation and anxiety we all experience, but in standout songs like #Beach and Something’s Undone, lead singer Leo finds poetically simple ways to distil these feelings in the form of large hooks such as “I don’t wanna go to the beach today” and “Something’s undone, where does this come from?” Defanged achieves a similarly cool trick with a slightly more lamented (but no less powerful) singalong with “When I start freaking out all over the place.” These are as catchy a bunch of hooks as I’m likely to hear this year, and it doesn’t at all hurt that The Overjoyed aren’t afraid to bust out a massive guitar solo either.
Aced Out is a fantastic way to start 2019 and I was immediately bowled over by both the production quality (particularly the punchy and enjoyable bass playing) and the consistently brilliant songs. Make sure you don’t sleep on this thrilling start to the year, and hopefully they’ll be back in the UK soon!
Review by Mark Bartlett.