Illinois quintet Joie de Vivre and Jersey’s Prawn have recently teamed up for a split EP on Topshelf and Count Your Lucky Stars Records. With strong musicianship and no small amount of feeling, each band owns a sound which crossbreeds indie rock and emo in its own way. This is made quite clear throughout the five-song record, while the bands each take a side - Joie de Vivre on A and Prawn on B - during which they make a musical statement, whether they realize it or not, that bands like Joie de Vivre and Prawn are the future of indie rock and emo. For me, this particular recording is akin to what it would have been like had Mineral and Sunny Day Real Estate released a split together several years ago.
Joie de Vivre kicks off the EP with the song “Martin Park”—slow distorted strums accompanied by jangly notework, solid low-end, somber horns and emotive vocals. Then they dive right into “Tenspopet”—a song short on neither form nor substance, putting forth big dirty chords, an indie riff woven through the fabric of the arrangement, intense vocal delivery, and a horn part which sounds like something that would be in a Sufjan Stevens piece. Joie de Vivre’s next contribution to the split, “Good Morning Mr. Franklin,” has a decidedly Sunny Day Real Estate angle to it, both musically and vocally, but especially the latter. “Why You Always Leave A Note” is where Prawn takes the reins, and sound-wise I can only say it is somewhat similar to what I image a musical marriage between Joyce Manor and Braid would sound like. Lastly, Prawn gives us a powerful emo composition titled "Fracture."
In regard to splits, Topshelf Records and their artists are doing an exceptional job. Toward the end of 2013 was the amazing split between The Saddest Landscape and My Fictions. And now, with Joie de Vivre and Prawn, they’ve gone and done it again...only this time they joined forces with Count Your Lucky Stars.
If you are a fan of music well removed from the mainstream, particularly in the indie rock, emo and post-hardcore departments, this may just be a split for your collection. It is available on vinyl or as digital download.