More about: The Regrettes
A lot has changed since The Regrettes were a teenage punk band on the road, making a name as the future of the feminist punk scene. Listening to their new album, Further Joy (out 8 April on Warner Records), you might forget that you’re listening to the same band. Swapping guitars for synths, Further Joy is a pure pop album, full of catchy hooks and an acute sense of relatable anxiety permeating throughout the record.
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Anxieties and insecurities manifest themselves in many ways throughout Further Joy, whether it’s the constant pressure to be better or the struggle to function in everyday life (‘Monday’). The most poignant of these representations comes on ‘You’re So Fucking Pretty’, as Night juggles a fear of rejection from someone she has strong feelings for with coming to terms with her own identity. Where previous lyrics were more outward and edgy, Further Joy is more pensive and inward facing, relatable in a different way. And these complex, relevant themes are where Further Joy really finds its strength, concealing evocative feelings of insecurity behind catchy pop stylings, comparable to Self Esteem’s Prioritise Pleasure.
Despite the prevailing sense of anxiety, this is still an album to dance to, from the more chilled out numbers like ‘Subtleties (Never Giving Up On You)’ to ‘La Di Da’, a more classically upbeat pop song. Later in the album, we hear some indie-leaning sounds on ‘Better Now’, where the electric guitar makes a more return in the chorus. Again, it’s a different vibe to the more mosh-friendly parts of their back catalogue: future gigs will likely veer between mosh pits and dancing as their new material finds its place in the setlist.
One thing that can be said about The Regrettes on Further Joy is that they know how to craft an unforgettable hook, starting with the opening earworm synths of ‘Out Of Time’, and the always-welcome ‘80s sound of ‘Step’. However, there is a certain spark missing on the album that you could find in the likes of ‘Pumpkin’ and ‘California Friends’ on their more guitar-based records. Although they return to this form on ‘Nowhere’ it means that it takes a few listens to really get into the new album and appreciate its depth.
For such a young band, they’ve got an unbelievable amount of experience (the first iteration of The Regrettes formed when lead singer Lydia Night was just 12 years old). Today, they’re taking that experience from the alternative scene and channelling into the sharp production of a pop album. The change in direction shouldn’t come as a massive shock—they’ve been moving steadily into poppier realms for a while now. Of course, anyone who was loyal to the punk bite of guitar driven tracks like ‘Poor Boy’ won’t find what they’re looking for on the new album, but Further Joy has the potential to bring a whole new crowd into their fanbase...but hopefully they haven’t left their punk roots for good.
Further Joy arrives 8 April via Warner Records.
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More about: The Regrettes