Joyce Manor, Never Hungover Again

Megan Seling

By Megan Seling

on 07.22.14 in Reviews

On their last record, 2012′s Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired, the Torrence, California, pop-punk band Joyce Manor crammed nine tracks (including a cover of the Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star”) into an impressive 13 minutes. Their new release, their first full-length for Epitaph Records, is nearly as quick: Only four of the songs on Never Hungover Again breach the two-minute mark, with the entire album clocking in under 20 minutes. Despite this, never once does a song feel incomplete — the songs, while succinct, still feel rich.

A summer pop-punk record that’s bittersweet, warm and fleeting

Whether wishing for things to be the way they used to be on “End of the Summer” (“I start to feel it fade away/ there’s nothing I can do/ at the end of the summer/ tried to imagine there’s a way for me and you/ at the end of the summer”) or looking forward to what’s to come on “Falling in Love Again,” Never Hungover Again is a summer record that’s just like summer itself — bittersweet, warm and fleeting.

Never Hungover Again

Joyce Manor

Opening track “Christmas Card” is drenched with longing for something that might not even be worth missing (“Looking at your face in the dark/ you don’t even look that smart,” goes the opening couplet), lead singer Barry Johnson singing with an obvious ache in his voice: “You disappeared into the crowd/ I don’t know what you tried to tell me/ you know I think about it still.”

“Falling in Love Again,” as the title suggests, wrestles with the self-consciousness that comes with meeting someone new; “Schley” recalls Weezer’s finer moments; and the propulsive “Heart Tattoo” is catchy and insistent (and one hell of an earworm). There are echoes of Morrissey’s heartbreak and longing, both in Johnson’s croon and in “Heated Swimming Pool”‘s Johnny Marr-esque jangling guitar. It’s a lot to pack in, and it’s even more impressive considering they do it all in 19 minutes flat.