Those moments when listening to a release for the first time and a knowing smile emerges, growing wider and wider as chord after chord emerges from the speaker are rare but when they come are extremely rewardingly enjoyable. Those are the moments when a band or song clicks and connects on every level, a moment that happened when the new single ‘The Celebration’ from Brighton’s Pope Joan reached its eager hands out.
Previous single ‘A Drowning’ released in March has already stirred up the heart rhythms for many fans and critics alike, but the new single will go much further with its infectious beats, jangly guitars, and urgency of rhythm and vocals. The art-pop quartet create sounds that link to the primal beats in our hearts, enticing all with siren like beckoning through deep enchanting synths and alluring hypnotic rhythms, it teases, it invites and then it satisfies as one succumbs to its majesty.
‘The Celebration’ saunters in on a military like beat as vocalist Sammy Aaron Jr delivers a dark tale which in the vocalists own words is “… about the aftermath of a celebration, where tragedy is looming”. There is a haunting and unsettling tone to the song due to Aaron Jr and his lyrical emotive words, complimented by the almost sullen moments either side of the erupting crescendos of emotion and music.
Accompanying the lead track is a crowd favourite at their shows, ‘Billy’s Bride’. More tribal beats and vibrant groaning synth sounds frame the impressive Aaron Jr. The unrelenting beats behind the glorious post punk slides and feedback wails of the guitar and throbbing bass sounds grab the limbs making them move in unison and maybe even sympathy to the unsettling wonderful feel.
The single was produced by the band themselves with the mastering skills of engineer Mike Marsh (The Kills, Nick Cave, Hot Chip), and a fine result they achieved, the clarity within the feeling of impending shadows especially in ‘The Celebration’ is impressive. Each song is a living breathing creation provoking reaction from the listener as Tom Windsor, David Coomber, Andre Millin, alongside Aaron Jr take them into the unknown shadowy primitive side to their music. With something akin to The Birthday Party mixed with The Horrors backed by De Staat, Pope Joan has spawned a classic.
Having already shared stages with The Vaccines, Danananankroyd, New Young Pony Club, and The Fall, one can only see Pope Joan headlining said acts very soon. Pope Joan is the future of indie music, ‘The Celebration’ an example of why that will be so.
Pete RingMaster 04/07/2011