Joy Wants Eternity Must You Smash Your Ears Before You Learn to Listen with Your Eyes

[Self-Released; 2005]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: instrumental rock, dramatic experimentation
Others: Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Explosions in the Sky, A Silver Mt. Zion

For what it's worth, instrumental music is a fantastic medium truly hidden from the view of the masses. Often, the sounds ebb and flow, the build-ups are just as fulfilling as waiting for a first kiss, and the music rarely grows stale or predictable. It's a soundtrack to daily life -- if life was an over-the-top dramatic interpretation. Seattle's Joy Wants Eternity playfully engages the listening audience in many of the above qualities: the ideas are fresh, each song lives its own life, and the build-up is fantastic. Sadly, the story is built up so much, that the climax is lost in the shuffle.

The opener, "For We Had No Road," is a meditative storm of gentle keystrokes and guitar buzz. The feeling of flying through a starry sky or the sweet tension of a first date isn't usually a description that applies to an airy song, but the show fits snuggly in this case. "For We Had No Road" feels like a fairy tale with no words mucking up the message. "Of Dead Loves and Waning Perfume" holds true to the storytelling philosophy evident throughout the EP. The highs and lows of each note and each hook exist in its own Never Never Land. Peter Pan dreams of having JWE playing him into the bedroom window of Wendy.

Much of listening to this album is absorbing the slowly unfolding menagerie, but "H.L Mencken" disrupts the tall tale before it truly begins to blossom. The track is nothing more than a stab at experimentation through distortion. Usually such a track would be an unexpected and welcomed change of pace, but the sonic annoyance only muddles up what was shaping up to be a wonderfully told sound-story. The album fails to recover until midway through "What Fell Down From the Moon Last Night." The song has the unenviable task of trying to piece the puzzle back together, and although it comes close through some fantastic change-ups and a cheerier tune, it fails to distinguish itself from the rest of the numbers, leaving behind the perfect opportunity to blow you away with a theatrical finish full of fireworks and explosions.

The positives definitely outweigh the negatives on Joy Wants Eternity's debut performance. The band is able to tell a good story using only music and a vision. The album, for the most part, is as cohesive as anything you'll pick up in the bins of your local record establishment. There's a passion exuding from each and every one of these songs, making it impossible not to be infected with JWE's spirit and vigor. It'll take a couple more releases to gauge exactly where this collective is headed, but it should be an enjoyable and worthy wait.

1. For We Had No Road
2. Abide, Moment
3. H.L Mencken
4. Of Dead Loves and Waning Perfume
5. What Fell Down from the Moon Last Night
6. Untitled

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