Jouis - Yellow Meadows
Owain Paciuszko 23/04/2010
When living in Brighton for most of 2009 I managed to catch Jouis play a few gigs, whilst they never really blew my mind, I thought they - at least - approached their raggedy folk-pop leanings with wit, originality and a good ear for a catchy tune and danceable beat.
Opening with the slinky sound of brass and twinkly organs, there's a laidback supper club groove to the title track, which also recalls Dr. Teeth and Electric Mayhem in a more romantic mood. The track then explodes into a cacophony of raucous horns, bringing to mind The Zutons and Gomez having a jam with a mariachi band, indeed, the lead singer's voice recalls Gomez's Ben Ottewell with its healthy dose of growl and rasp, a vocal maturity extending beyond his youth.
Miss Monroe shifts things into a more traditional cookie cutter, recalling a lot of quirky student bands, it's lyrics are occassionally gratingly cheesy and it moves through a lot of tried and tested melodical phrases not delivering the requisite highs and lows of a fun pop tune, that perhaps a more raucous live performance would deliver. Meanwhile Lover has a certain swagger that unfortunately transforms Jouis into Toploader for three and a half minutes. It then seems, come the breakdown, to steal wholesale from The Zutons who stole from the Rolling Stones who probably stole from elsewhere, with a dropped out gaggle of 'Ooo ooo's before descending into a finale that sounds like a party going on in someone else's house.
Whilst I Am The Man feels like a lost The Coral track, it is, at least an entertaining shanty with the band's jubillance not seeming as forced on the middle tracks. It drifts into a lazy, jazzy bridge section that - with dreamy backing vocals - has a deliciously psychedelic vibe, washing you over and complimenting the lyrics 'I am the man, built my house upon the sand...' perfectly.
This is a sandwich made of the finest bread but with processed luncheon meat stuffed in the middle, occasionally whilst munching through you get a hint of flavour, but really bread and butter would've been better. Ridiculous metaphors aside, there are enormous strengths to Jouis, they make the most of their six man line-up and create a rich and exciting sound, it's just a shame that sometimes they waddle through the tried and tired wonky-folk tropes that were exceedingly popular the start of the century. With a bit more psychedelic experimentation married to their funky grooves Jouis could well have something melodic, fun and unique. As it stands this is an auspicious release at least.