Joystick

I Can't Take it Anymore

Written by: MAK on 18/04/2021 01:47:24

In the last year, Bad Time Records has unveiled monster releases in the ska-punk world, with the likes of Kill Lincoln and The Best of the Worst gaining some strong traction in the genre. Now the label has collaborated with Stomp Records to bring us, “I Can’t Take It Anymore” the fourth release from New Orleans ska-punks Joystick, this would be the bands first release in four years, following up from 2017’s “Sinceriously”. In the time between releases, lead singer Paul “Duck” Tucker has since become sober, with elements of this album covering the journey to overcome those challenges.

What you get from Joystick is a blend of the usual happy-go-lucky third wave sound with gritty hardcore in a way that the two combine in a well-balanced manner. Opening track “Retcon” comes right out of the gates and showcases these two styles combined perfectly. The opening bars are laden with the typical bouncy upstrokes and pulsing brass hooks, and then the chorus punches you right in the face with erratic crunchy riffage and fast shouty vocals. It’s a highly energetic start to the release in which you can skank in the verse and kick some ass in the chorus. “Detonate” then follows up like a bomb, chaotic guitars and pounding beats attack the ears, then the breakneck pace drops and a swaggerish groove topped off by a soulful horn segment gets the head bopping nicely.

“Damage Boost” continues the heavier trend with hard-hitting riffs and powerful brass elements, yet the tempo is slowed down. the tone feels darker and more downbeat. Interestingly, follow up track “Rinse and Repeat” counteracts that with highly upbeat third-wave ska vibes, yet topically it tackles addiction and self-esteem issues. Lead single “Parallelograms” musically features the same joyful vibes, however, the chirpy tracks sandwich the more serious-sounding “Gggghost”, a horn filled hardcore punk track that yet again switches between bouncy ska rhythms and angst-ridden hardcore fire. The passion in the throaty vocals throughout carries a lot of energy and weight, crescendoing to a big fiery finish.

“No Sleep After Brooklyn” takes a much-needed break for us to catch out breaths, delivering a chilled out reggae styled instrumental for the most part with a very subtle influence of rock and metal lingering underneath. The horn section is beautifully hooking. “7675” then is a massive wake up call with some crack-rock/ska-punk influences, much like P.O Box and early Flatliners. Highly energetic skate-punk hooks counterbalanced with skank worthy rhythms and pulsing brass hooks. It's an absolute riot, whereas “Carrot and Stick” calms things down again for more soulful reggae and third wave ska happiness that feels like prime Goldfinger. “Unscene” then chimes in as a pure skacore hit, all-out aggression where even the horns sounding angry.

“Semicolon” acts as an interlude, with plinky piano keys and a steady relaxing rhythm, setting up “Past Tense” nicely for the powerful horn section to come in strongly for the intro. The rest of the track comes across more as a teen movie pop-rocker. Lots of catchy hooks throughout. It’s probably the most vanilla sounding track of the release, but it’s a simple, nice track as something a little different. This does let the high-tempo skate punk track “Shots” to give you a 29-second blast of adrenaline out of nowhere before “Worm Food” leaves you questioning everything for a song that keeps you guessing. It’s a mostly acoustic ska-track with occasional random blasts of hardcore heaviness that last 2-3 seconds at best, it’s a cool track but that first listen is a mind fuck.

Title track “I Can’t Take This Anymore” closes off the album like a pop-punk track with horns than a ska track, an emotion led track with messages that convey growing up becoming a better person. Something that appears to encapsulate the album as a whole. Coming into this album, while I was excited to hear what Joystick had to offer, I wasn’t expecting such a captivating release. The balance of styles keeps the album sounding fresh throughout, the diversity keeps you hooked. Without a doubt, it’s a must-listen for ska-punk fans.

8

Download: Detonate, 7675, Unscene
For the fans of: Kill Lincoln, Early Flatliners, Faintest Idea
Listen: Facebook

Release date 16.04.2021
Bad Time Records / Stomp Records/ Pookout Records

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