Friday, 16 August 2013

Dear Joy - Dear Joy EP

EP review by

Dear Joy is the magnificent, bright and breezy music project created by the beau,tiful Thai/Scandinavian singer-songwriter Lou Vilstrup. Teaming up with producer and recording engineer Steve Belgrave (whose projects include and are not limited to Beady Eye, The Killers, Katy Perry, The Rolling Stones), Dear Joy have fused various styles including acoustic folk/acoustic, pop and alternative jazz to create a wonderfully charming five-track EP. Warmly and gently cultivated over the past two years the EP's development has undergone a committed journey to finding the right arrangements and the right musicians to do each song justice - a pilgrimage that has more than paid off. 'Cartoon Song' strolls in and greets you with the loving embrace and the cheeky wink of an old friend. Sassy accordion and trumpet lines support whimsical yet seductive vocals, and with lyrics such as "what if life was a cartoon and we jumped over the moon" and "isn't it delirious when taking things so serious" lulls you into a child-like sense of security. 'May 7th' is a chilled-out yet slightly melancholy jazz-infused track that soothes you like the welcome caress of a cool breeze on a warm summers day. Sultry vocals, flirty strings "summer's come and taken me into his arms making me believe he's found the one" there's definitely a detection of bossa nova influence in play here.

'Summer's Day' begins with a familiar opening of 'California Dreaming' lyrics but this time "all the leaves are green and the sky is blue" as opposed to the formally brown leaves and grey sky of The Mamas and The Papas. With a slightly sorrowful use of harmonica and penetrating harp, there's a melancholy intensity here that makes you feel a little but suffocated, especially when Lou wallows "everything will change from now 'cos the city's gonna wake up, on a summer's day". Then there's the simple, stripped-back 'About a Kite' where the world and remorse is seen through the unsteady, high-flying point of view of a kite. "I used to be a kite that would disappear into the night swallowed up in fear" Lou sings with a painfully honest vulnerability. As the song progresses a strength begins to defeat the dark skies and the storms ahead . The voice is ready and sure, strong and undefeated determination. Haunting strings support the more brutal tone to Lou's breathtaking vocals and we too soar like a kite. 'Antigravity' ends the EP. It's heart-breakingly perfect, from its melodies to its lyrics. Slow and tender, 'Antigravity is a vast contrast from the happy go lucky opening in 'Cartoon Song'. Haunting strings accompany rich vocals as Lou wisely and thoughtfully sings "the world is turning upside down and everyone is running around, with a million feet not touching the ground." From this collection of songs, Dear Joy have got the right balance between head in the clouds creativity and deeply rooted, grounded honesty.

Dear Joy's website

Stream or buy the EP

Catch them live:

Aug 17 Copenhagen Songwriter Festival (solo performance), Denmark
Aug 21 The Elgin, London, United Kingdom

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