Under Review

Joyce Island

Joyce Island

Independent

by Robert Catherall


On her debut, Joyce Island, songwriter, guitarist, and vocalist Lisa Joyce assumes the confident swagger of Tom Petty-styled Americana before drenching it in blossoming female vocals that triumphantly stand their ground against a series of troubled experiences. Backed by the driving guitar of Mikey Manville (of the Manvils) and rhythmic confidence of Chris Jaggers and Flavio Cirillo, Joyce leads the quartet from heavy blues psychedelia to modern traditionals.

There’s no filler on the Vancouver songstress’ first effort, as Joyce’s tenacity surfaces with raucous atonement on the opener, “Mercy on Me,” while “World Full of Pain” explains her sordid relationship with spirituality through the simple yet poignant refrain, “I tried to love the lord / But he’s a world full of pain.”

Joyce uses a touch of southern grace to amplify her lush West Coast charm on tracks like “Forgiven” and the album’s final lament, “Ain’t Got You,” to transcend her contemporaries. Add this to the fact that she’s downright cuter than hell, and Joyce’s aural tidal wave engulfs you, leaving you gasping for air. When you catch your breath you’ll have a curious desire to continue tempting the oceanic ebb. It’s an EP that harnesses the danger and unbridled energy of the raw elements of life before turning them into verses of self-reflection and doubt.

This album should be the soundtrack to summer evenings at the beach, where close friends pass around their vulnerable introspections with carefree exhilaration.