Review – Joykill Collective: Battle Cry

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  • Bio: n/a
  • Label: Self-release
  • Release Date: August 21st, 2015
  • Genre: Alternative Rock, Post-Rock
  • Website: Visit Website
  • Rating (out of 10):

Joykill Collective, a group composed of “(mostly) musicians who share dissatisfaction with the prevalent right wing politics and media” according to the Facebook about me page, is an alternative rock group from the United Kingdom. While the group continues working on their debut album, the single “Battle Cry” was determined to be the first single given the recent elections, and the head of the effort not being in the country for them. But does it stand as a proper attack on the right winged government the band claims to be against, or is it all just an attempt to make an otherwise simple song have a much grander intention than it initially had?

The post-rock beginning builds up a subtle spaghetti western presence – more than likely unintentionally – that does stick throughout the effort in the main verses despite how much bulkier the material can become. Honestly, this is done quite well, though took a few listeners to get into given the chorus, which is an odd mixture of those moody riffs and mainstream alternative rock attitude. The climax, however, starts throwing everything at the listener in an attempt to channel a post-hard presence. The speed of said chorus picks up, the enthusiastic vocals become layered, and a hint of punk angst can be felt as well. The problem is that it all sounds incredibly uneven, especially given the pacing, which is the biggest allure of the song itself.

But, as for a battle cry itself (or a form of protest as the official Bandcamp page puts it), there’s little that feels like a genuine call to arms. If anything, “Battle Cry” comes off a depressing track aimed more as a memorial to a summer lost, reflecting through the lenses of old age and nostalgia. Sure, sometimes the lyrics can act as if its inciting some kind of rebellion, but it’s all just a mixed message that leaves the listener confused as to it’s purpose, one that couldn’t really even be loosely figured out had it not been spelled out for those observing. Of course, given the post-rock elements influencing the song’s atmosphere, this is one of those songs relying largely on perception, so how it stuck me may very well differ from how it impacts you.

If Joykill Collective hadn’t come out and decided to take a political stance with this song in particular, “Battle Cry” would have been a better experience that wold have illicit memories of days lost, spurring on a destinctive drive to try to reconnect with the past once more. Instead, we’re given yet another pretentious piece of moodiness masked with a political message that doesn’t really reflect what little lyrics exist, especially the soothing music presented prior to what literally becomes a cluster-fuck at the very end. But, if you can disconnect the music from this forced message, you’ll find a catchy track with a decent amount of emotion that speaks far more to youthful listeners looking for fun than those looking for a rebellion, but even then the positives are a dime a dozen within the genre itself.

Joykill Collective

Digital review copy of this release provided by Joykill Collective via Independent Music Promotions.