by Nathan Springer (@Drownloading)
Jouska’s "Marcel" is a bold opening statement for their recent full-length Topiary, which was self-released on September 6th. “Marcel” expands upon the template that Jouska outlined with last year’s EP This Kid Thinks He’s Sick, an affecting melting pot of emo, pop, shoegaze, and post-rock. The song begins with a dreamlike, ascending piano melody that drops out suddenly to reveal a sparse guitar and vocal arrangement. The band alternates between leaving space for the directness of the lyrical content to take the forefront and exploding into reverb-drenched instrumental passages reminiscent of the work of A Northern Chorus. After the first three minutes of the song, the verse-chorus-verse structure gives way to an expansive drone that eventually returns to the dramatic build-ups of the first half of the song.
If “Marcel” serves as any indication, Topiary will be a refreshingly vulnerable album. I appreciate the band’s lyrical directness (“the world is shit/my hometown sucks”), and they definitely know how to walk the line between drama and melodrama, always pushing the emotion of the songs as far as possible before pulling things back and allowing everything to settle. Check out “Marcel” below, as well as “Changeling”, another teaser from Topiary.