Review: Joyshop – Fables

Former Bristol Uni students Joyshop have us anticipating summer with their 3rd album, Fables.

Seven days, five band members, one cottage, one album
Photo: Joyshop

Having formed at Bristol University, the five members of Joyshop are now scattered across five locations in two continents, an arrangement which was hardly ideal when recording their first two albums.

For their third effort, ‘Fables’, the band regrouped at a cottage in West Sussex and decided to write and record the entire album in a week. The result could have been rushed, but ‘Fables’ is a joy to listen to.

Photo: Joyshop

From the opening track ‘Tow The Lion’, the record establishes a sense of fun which can only come from musicians recording in person together. The song’s repeating syncopated riffs are reminiscent of Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’, and like that song, ‘Tow The Lion’ feels destined to soundtrack future summer road-trips.

Another highlight is ‘Souls To The Coast’, a song so blissfully relaxing it belongs on every student’s chill out playlist.

The ukelele can often irritate – I once put a friend’s ukulele in a wood-chipper when they insisted on playing it continuously – but it lends itself perfectly to this sunny tune. Much of the album conjures images of summertime, making it’s December release a little unusual.

Photo: Joyshop

Skylarking is perhaps the least summery track, referring to falling leaves and clouds, but the mood continues to be firmly upbeat. The twinkling piano melody which carries the song can’t help but raise a smile and manages to stick in your head without irritating.

Conceiving an entire album in just a week is a daunting experiment and one few bands would risk. Joyshop deserve credit for rising to the challenge and creating an album which, although modest, is thoroughly charming.

Fables is available on iTunes.