As a pop-punk band, Joyce Manor is extraordinarily of its genre. The vividly recorded new Cody is the essence of sentimental, mid-tempo power pop. Singer Barry Johnson holds a plaintive note slightly off-key as a guitar chord fades. People have fake IDs and want to take you away, in their rooms. They wish they could stop feeling this way. They wish they had something to do. They say/ something brief/ then a longer phrase for the turnaround/ and that's/ how they reach/ the guitar. [Guitar.]
Whether this adherence to generic convention is delightful or infuriating depends on how you listen to it. From a jaded perspective, Cody sounds like The Mr. T. Experience without the humor, or Weezer without the dynamic range. But you could also say it sounds like youth, when everything is new: the relationships, the drinking, the ennui and even the music. Joyce Manor will sound familiar to anyone who has listened to California punk in the last 25 years. But if you haven't, or if you want to revisit it, they're a serviceable time machine. It's good to think this narrow genre of music still speaks to people—even those who might have been conceived to it.
Joyce Manor play the Badlander Mon., Oct. 10, at 9 PM, along with Hotelier and Crying. $15/$13 advance. All ages.