The Joy of Painting vocalist/guitarist Garreth Spinn says of the band’s new Lighten Up EP, “The guitars are bigger, the hooks are hookier, and we think people will have fun listening to it, which is all we wanted when we started this band.” Lighten Up is unshakably happy, true to The Joy of Painting form, and it is bigger—than the band’s debut LP Asterisk, that is, meaning volume, energy, tempo and instrumental layers have all been turned up.
Released Sept. 25 via Sound Division Records, Lighten Up is available only in digital format and on vinyl, and is a mere three songs, beginning with “Charades.” It opens with the buzzy, grating guitars reminiscent of Nashville garage rockers Natural Child, then a piano comes bubbling up, and the track blasts open with a jangly pop rock melody backing TJOP’s standard wryness: “Charades are what we play/a guessing game, prone to mistake/it’s make believe; it’s not the real thing/maybe the real thing feels the same.”
“Soul Man” sort of horns surge through “Good Man” courtesy of Kansas Bible Company (who’ve lent their brass section out before to local hardcore punk band Tetsuo), pitting a brassy retro dance vibe against indie pop. Things change again in “Come Clean,” which wraps up the brief recording with spazzy electronic noises and garage rock riffs that sound chipper rather than too cool.
The common thread among these genre-dabbling tracks is spastic pop sensibility. It’s the framework for all The Joy of Painting songs, inside of which are junky garage rock influences, synthy touches and damper lyrical musings. Like it or dislike it, the sound is getting sonically bigger. If Asterisk sounded like a party warming up, Lighten Up is the peak.
Order the limited edition 7″ (in randomly assorted multi-colored vinyl), or download the three tracks (name your price) at joyofpainting.bandcamp.com.