When you think of acoustic string bands, words like big, epic, full, and powerful don't typically come to mind. Yet Joy Kills Sorrow
- a 5 piece, Boston bred band - aspire to hone a sound that's as almighty as anything coming out of indie rock. While it's tough to decipher if the band lives up to such ambitions, their new Wide Awake
EP is certainly an excellent indication of where they are aiming to take the sound. Most obviously there's the reinterpretation of "Such Great Heights", the ubiquitous, entirely electronic Postal Service song the band chip away at with a flurry of acoustic finger work. It's a nice introduction - one you should probably hear - but we're shedding light on "Was It You", the EP's actual entry point. It's a song that flickers alive as it skips along. Sparse instrumentals eventually give way to more powerful and dynamic, full-bodied elements: Double bass, banjo, mandolin, and acoustic guitar, all note-perfect and flying about at a frenetic pace. Then there's the band's secret weapon, Emma Beaton. Her voice is sweet and optimistic in the face of the heartache she's facing. She can also turn her range up a notch, ushering her band to those lofty levels they long to be at. Like contemporaries The Punch Brothers, it's a fascinating, progressive angle on typically old fashion elements. Expect a full length album in the near future to help complete the trajectory the band is on.