The Joy Arson “Playground”

Late last summer I caught a performance by Saint Asonia, which ended up being one of my favourites of all the great shows I saw during the summer. For support, they had three local bands. The first band The Rathburns were pretty cool and unique, the second band Breached were really heavy and I dug them, but none of them seemed as comfortable on stage as The Joy Arson. The show itself sounded okay, I’m not a concert reviewer so I won’t go further on that, but my friend and I both agreed that they were the better of the three acts. After the show I picked up their 2013 EP Playground expecting good things.

Right away I was proven right. Playground‘s opening track Forever showed the alternative hard rock sound I heard during their live show, with great vocals by The Joy Arson‘s vocalist Matt Moffit, tight playing by the band and most importantly it has such a good hook to it in its chorus. Following track Trust slows things down while adding more intensity. The music seems louder this time around, and the emotions really run high.

The ferocity is then turned down to make way for the fervor of the Repair, which is the closest thing Playground has to a ballad. The Joy Arson keep the dynamism high on Repair to make it too powerful to simply be called a ballad. It’s one of the strongest statements on Playground as it shows (me at least) that they don’t want to be categorized so easily. Just three songs in we already have three rather different songs that all follow a similar influence.

Far Better Days follows similarly to the opening two tracks on Playground. It’s not overtly heavy and very melodic in all the right ways. While I remember hearing most of these songs played in The Joy Arson‘s live set, this is the one that sticks in my memory the most. It’s the closing track The Beast where The Joy Arson make things a little more heavy. All of these songs seem to take an influence of bands like Breaking Benjamin and other alternative metal bands of the sort, just a little smoother musically. The Beast doesn’t hold back its intensity or loudness, while keeping that melodic element that I’ve loved so much about all of the other tracks on Playground.

The five songs The Joy Arson present on Playground are five of the best songs I’ve heard from an independent band. Toronto has some great talent playing the bar and club scenes. I may have forgotten that fact slightly, but this EP helped me remember. The Joy Arson’s musical intelligence in making songs that truly stick out is phenomenal here. It makes me wish Playground was a full album; I’d really like to see if the band could keep this up on a full LP.

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ALBUM HIGHLIGHT

Forever” –­ It’s the song that hooked me right away, and I’d expect it to have the same affect on just about anyone else.

FINAL RATING

9 (Out of 10)

Track List:

1. Forever 3:50
2. Trust 4:08
3. Repair 4:17
4. For Better Days 3:55
5. The Beast 4:19

 

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