Joyce Manor lives by the motto “brevity is the soul of wit.” The wiry, Brit-rock-influenced pop-punk band rarely breaks the two-minute mark with any song, yet makes every second count. The group’s Epitaph Records debut, Never Hungover Again, is no exception.
Clocking in at a mere 19 minutes, the record is a blur of familiar influences—from early Fall Out Boy (the speedy “Heart Tattoo”) and The Jam (a rowdy, mod-influenced “Victoria”) to Taking Back Sunday (the midtempo holler “Falling in Love Again”)—that rarely feels derivative or tossed-off. That’s mainly due to Joyce Manor’s effortless sincerity and vulnerability; within these homages are relatable lyrics about broken romance, painful isolation and abject loneliness. Even the lovely, shimmering Smiths imitation, “Heated Swimming Pool,” transcends its inspiration thanks to some rather twisted lyrics: “I wish you would’ve died in high school/So you could be somebody’s idol.”
Never Hungover Again is both entertaining and affecting.