EP REVIEW: JoyFocus, Mission Critical Extended Play List

joyfocusepTITLE: Mission Critical Extended Play List
BAND: JoyFocus
LABEL: Atomic Monster Records
RELEASED: August 9th 2013

Chicago rock duo JoyFocus recently got in contact with their latest EP to show me. I love bands with powerful female singers and JoyFocus certainly have that. As the band suggests, the focus is very much on singer Holly Joy supported by the musical talent of Rikk Currence. They play songs with a universal appeal that cover the very best elements of rock and pop.

Shockingly, they’ve been around since 2001 and have gained a loyal fanbase in America and Europe. They’ve released three album and seven singles while gigging all over the world. Promoting a completely family-friendly image, they’re ready to take anyone and everyone along with them on their journey to become a big name.

joyfocusTheir latest release Mission Critical Extended Play List begins with Love Song Cliche, introduced by a slow piano building drama and a guitar note repeating. Holly’s distinctive, witchy vocal comes in and the backing takes on a spidery effect. The vocals evolve into a Madonna-esque, 80s pop tone with a classic rock grounding with the catchy guitars launching into a big instrumental towards the end, proceeded by a brief synth interlude.

No Good Alone is a love song with a lot of desperation instilled. Repetitive guitar strums again give way to a stark, bare-faced vocal setting the scene of a wonderful lover who somehow got free. The vocal pleads for her love to return with an attitude in the backing vocals, showing a fierce passion. A classic American pop-rock sound surrounds it while impressive guitars ring free to the catchy melody.

The stand-out song is Think Fast, as it’s something quite different. It wouldn’t look out of place on a burlesque artist’s set with its sexy Gaga air and bewitching vocals, which are sung through a mischievous grin. Quirky electronic tones run through the back of the dark and dangerous atmosphere which is incredibly enchanting.

Ending on Hopefully Home, which is my favourite song on the album. Full of nostalgia with melodic vocals and a slow crying violin in the background, all set to a swaying rhythm. There is a certain shadow to the vocals which give it a bit of edge, making it a melancholy rock ballad. A bluesy guitar solo followed by some theatrical harmonies follow the final chorus. It’s beautiful chill-out music that would also captivate a live audience.

I love bands who take a refreshing approach to what’s normal. Indeed, swearing and shouting has become too common in rock music and to see a band producing good, clean music with a unique beautiful sound is something so rare. This is just one reason why I love this record.



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