Every party has to end. Yeah, you could go a few more hours, talk to a few more strangers but at some point everything kind of just dies down. And when you’ve run out of anecdotes and the tap has run dry, real life starts to creep back in. The issues that seemed so insignificant under the glow of christmas lights and top 40 music start to hit full force.
This is a hard feeling to capture in any medium because everyone likes the party – the comedown not so much. On their last record, Never Hungover Again, Joyce Manor were certainly in the party mode. The album was full of beer soaked, pop punk jams that felt like every college blowout you’ve been too.
However, new album, Cody, see the band trying to capture those feelings of walking out of those parties and into another day of your life; a day you were so desperately trying to avoid. It’s a more mature record than the band has attempted before, and while it stumbles a bit, Cody is still a worthy showcase of the bands talent.
The first thing long time listeners of the band will notice about Cody is how long it is compared to the bands previous efforts. Sure 25 minutes is nothing in the world of 2016 but for Joyce Manor this might constitute an epic. The expanded track times gives Cody room to breathe, and thus we get a chance to really see what the band can do.
Thankfully they’re still as punchy and thoughtful as ever, with room to hit the listener hard with the emotional lyricism. This isn’t to say that these elements haven’t been a part of the band since the start, frontman Barry Johnson has always been one of pop punk’s best songwriters, but on Cody the songs feel more developed than they have before.
Gone are the days of regrettable tattoos and nights out with friends, instead Cody deals with stepping out on the one you love (‘Last You Heard of Me’) and being trapped in your own head (‘Eighteen’). Lead single, ‘Fake I.D’, has the bands usual dry humour – “Tell me what more could she want to be, a super hot friends with a fake I.D” – but takes a sharp turn once the narrator’s date talks about how much they like Kanye West over John Steinbeck.
It sounds silly, but Joyce Manor gives that moment the kind of weight which makes it feel like a life-changing event. It’s when the band hits on that momentum that Cody really soars. In fact the only real major misstep the album takes, besides the incidental “Angles in the Snow”, is the acoustic track “Do You Really Want To Not Get Better” which kills that momentum for a moment of sad sack melancholy.
The rest of the album, however, maintains the kind of heaviness of ‘Fake I.D’ but with the bands usual sense of fun. Cody might not reach the heights of Never Hungover Again but it was never meant to. It finds its place in the cold walks home after the celebration; the darkness is creeping in but the fun still lingers.
Cody is out now via Epitaph.