little joy little joy
  • MONDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2008

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When bands break-up, sometimes everyone wins. Take the disappearing act post-9/11 rock revivalists The Strokes performed after their '06 album First Impressions of Earth failed to deliver the goods. As it turns out, the album would be the public's last impression of these stylish young trailblazers. And while the band's early '00 efforts were, in retrospect, kind of monumental for the genre they helped recover, The Strokes' undoing was a-ok. Not only was First Impressions, how do I put this, really bad, but the solo recordings guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. released in the band's wake helped to keep the band's original sonic aura aglow. And while Hammond's had the market for post-Stroke relevance cornered up to this point (that Converse commercial Julian participated in does not count), drummer Fabrizio Moretti recently threw his hat in the ring. And wouldn't you know it? His effervescently titled new trio Little Joy might have just upped the ante.

Similar to Vampire Weekend - though stripped of all the frilly string compositions - Moretti's new fling offers light and crispy pop wranglings that cast no doubt as to his previous roots. If listeners confuse singer Rodrigo Amarante's lackadaisical draw for a Casablancas croon, they'd be too easily forgiven. But Amarante isn't the sole steward at the helm of the SS Little Joy. Female counterpart Binki Shapiro pilots lacey little tracks like "Unattainable and Don't Watch Me Dancing" with syrupy sweet breaths and just the right cappuccino kick.

The bewitching result is a nostalgic batch of exotic tunes that stem from the kind of place listeners should be jealous of. Life has treated the members of Little Joy awfully well...or at least that's what the splotchy drum work and clumsy splats of church organ that chug through "No One's Better" has lead me to believe. "Play the Part" and "With Strangers" are a pair of misty, soundtrack ready concoctions. And if listener's don't at least catch themselves humming along with the gang on "Brand New Start and "How to Hang a Warhol", then, frankly, something has gone horribly wrong. - david pitz
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