Joywave made waves (groan, I know) as they came crashing back onto Late Night with Seth Meyers to play “Destruction” from their recent release Swish, a remix album consisting entirely of slight variations of the aforementioned song and album art that hawkishly mocks The Life of Pablo (you mad, Kanye?). The brilliantly offbeat performance began with lead vocalist Daniel Armbruster alone on the darkened stage timidly pushing a cartoonish red button only to be “frightened” by the buzzsaw synthesizer groan that followed in response. What ensued was three minutes of dance-rock . . . wait for it . . . destruction.
There’s a kookiness and theatricality to Joywave’s stage presence and music (just listen to that Bambi sample that ends How Do You Feel Now? track “Parade” and precedes “In Clover”) that has been sorely missing in the often overly serious electro/shoegaze circuit. This brash absurdity meshes shockingly well with the band’s harsher sonics and creates a vibe that says “join us out back in the alley for the afterparty, there might be daggers involved.” The oddball fun doesn’t stop there though. It seems to permeate all of Joywave’s creative output.
creates a vibe that says “join us out back in the alley for the afterparty, there might be daggers involved.”
The band’s “Coffee with Joywave” video series says all you really need to know about the members themselves. These 15-second blips use half of their run-time mimicking the smooth jazz stylings of the ′90s Saturday Night Live band intro. The other half is typically spent with band members awkwardly drinking coffee or standing about gawkishly. The series (and the band itself) owes a great deal of its aesthetic to vaporwave. Through repetition (hello, Swish), ironic humor, and lo-fi graphics Joywave ask us to take their triviality seriously. If we do, we might just get through the dark shit with smiles on our faces and a rhythm to dance to.