The latest EP from Toronto-based psych-pop quartet Mr. Joy proves you don’t need to be in the same room to make something thrilling.
The pandemic has proven that distance no longer is the be-all or end-all of musical productivity. Where some bands benefit from being in the same room and the spontaneity that rises out of that intimate connection, other acts are just as happy staying where they are and collaborating with like-minded souls across the country or even the world. Mr. Joy now has experience with both methods. While Toronto was its home base, three of its four members have now left the city, and Yes! Yes! Yes! proves there is still much joy (sorry) to be found in slower-paced collaboration, of passing a song around and building from a humble foundation.
That approach is transparent in this little EP, as you can actually feel the songs growing from the ground up. The band is content to take its time, giving each new element room to breathe. The simple repeating keys that begin the nearly eight-minute “Find” set a warm tone, and there’s barely more than an ambient wash for a few minutes before a bass groove and brushed percussion finally make an appearance. It feels like being witness to a beautiful jam session.
“Do Re Mi” happily shows its seams as a musical building block tower; for the most part (or entirely?) its lyrics are just combinations of “do,” “re,” and “mi.” You don’t need deep lyrics to communicate joy (sorry again). “Temptation” is six-minutes of simmering bass groove and psychedelic haze. After three songs of extended bliss, “Until Death Soundz of Music” takes a sharp turn in format and length: just 40 seconds, and it’s a glitchy, industrial burst of noise.
Although remote collaboration is not a necessity anymore, if this year’s releases from groups like The Diskettes, Body Breaks, and now Mr. Joy are any indication, you don’t need to be in the same room to make something thrilling.