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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

August 21, 2018   |   Ithaca, NY

Life & Culture

Review: Vance Joy’s consistent acoustics are comforting

Nation of Two

Vance Joy

Vance Joy’s new album “Nation of Two” is a sensational addition to his impressive list of hit singles and previous album. Known for his quirky ukulele song “Riptide,” Vance Joy has exceeded expectations with his intuitive ability to create music for people of all ages. He’s established a remarkable reputation while appearing on the national and international level, performing at Lollapalooza and on BBC Radio 1. Vance Joy’s new album brings back his timeless sounds and gradual, gentle composition that fans have come to love.

The inclusion of calming melody progressions and rhythmically soothing patterns in “Nations of Two” makes it the perfect album to listen to on a long drive with old friends or while relaxing on a warm summer day. The straightforward qualities in each of his songs ultimately create an intricate, yet elaborate and wholesome, sound. The acoustic guitar used in the songs “Call If You Need Meand “Bonnie and Clyde” is a perfect demonstration of the simplicity he relies on to make layered and complex tracks. He proves that just his voice and the acoustic guitar with little to no backtrack can still create a song that’s intricate and interesting to listen to.

Within “Nation of Two,” the consistency of his uncomplicated sounds and the use of his mid-range tone mix well, producing familiar and soothing tracks. Vance Joy sticks to what he knows and doesn’t drastically alter his image to explore other musical structures. Although sticking within his comfort zones may seem like a potential downfall, the returning consistency of his familiar, gentle acoustics is comforting. These acoustics are a constant reminder of his rare ability to produce heartwarming imagery throughout all of the 13 songs on the album.

The use of his usual relaxing melodies and chord progressions is a reminder of Vance Joy’s capability to maintain his reputation and image. However, the absence of his willingness to try new sounds is a missed opportunity on “Nation of Two.” The only track that demonstrates a difference is “Like Gold,” which features percussive instruments such as a striking, consistent drum line and a tambourine. Seeing more of these qualities in other tracks would have enhanced the album, but the limited presence of these characteristic doesn’t diminish the content of “Nation of Two.”

From his first album, “God Loves You When You’re Dancing,” in 2013 to his most recently released album “Nation of Two,” listeners have seen Vance Joy grow not only in his performances but also in the complexity of his lyrics and stylistic rhythmic choices. “Nation of Two” brings back the beloved sounds from his past pieces of work and has proven to be another influential addition to the alternative singer-songwriters genre worldwide, making this album one to remember.