Joy Zipper - The Heartlight Set

Alex Worsnip 06/05/2005

Rating: 3/5

It feels good that GodIsInTheTV is now old enough for me to be reviewing follow-ups to albums I previously reviewed on this zine. And here the standard is pretty high - Joy Zipper's last album 'American Whip' was one of my favourite albums of 2004, a beautiful concotion of summery pop fuelled by gorgeous harmonies, male-female vocal interplay, atmospheric synths and the occasional burst of fuzzy guitars, like a combination of Low and My Bloody Valentine setting out to make a bona fide pop record. Whispers in advance of 'The Heartlight Set' were that it wasn't as good, but rumours of Joy Zipper's demise have been exaggerated, and while it doesn't quite scale the heights of it's predecessor, it's another extremely consistent offering.

It's not an incredible departure, but right from opener 'Go Tell The World', with its swaggering rhythm and gently grungey guitars, there's a renewed purpose in the music. This theme is continued on the pumping 'You're So Good', which is this album's 'Baby You Should Know', one of the highlights from 'American Whip', if not quite as perfect as that track. Song after song is successful: the fabulous guitar pop of '1'; the orchestral sweep of the dreamy 'For Lenny's Own Pleasure' and the building fuzz of '2 Dreams I Had' being particularly fine examples. The lyrics build on the dynamic between Tindale and Cafiso, partners both in music and love, and extoll the joys of all things beautiful, romantic and sweet. Not one for breakups, then, but it suits the music perfectly.

In fact this record is even more accessible than 'American Whip'. In truth, out are the elements of the aforementioned Low and My Bloody Valentine, the spacier, more epic, indie elements of the sound, out go the more atmospheric touches and in come rock guitars playing simple chords - at times this could be The Cardigans (albeit The Cardigans surpassing themselves). But that's not all a bad thing. Joy Zipper are always about pop - indeed, they are a pop band for people who don't like pop. There is nothing pretentious, fad-ish or even complex about this music, but it's just a lovely record full of short, classic pop songs. And even if that isn't quite as captivating as the more artistically serious, slightly trendier American Whip, it should soundtrack many a summer more than adequately. And I'll drink (probably, it has to be said, a pint of cider rather than ale) to that.