Welsh singer-songwriter Lyndon Morgans is back with his seventh studio album, Joy Street. The title is a bit of a misnomer, there isn't an awful lot of joy on display lyrically here, but there is a great deal of pleasure to be found in the bleak humour. Morgan's conversational poetic style entices you in, though at times the vocals are a little too much like a Dylan tribute act, especially on the title track. Fortunately there is a lot more to Joy Street than Morgans' trademark tired delivery, and a weary world view.
Raise Your Glass In Praise may feature a list of things that Morgans feels worthy of commendation, but there is quite a mix within that list. While Blond On Blond unsurprisingly gets a namecheck, amyl nitrate and empty playgrounds are amongst the others on the list. It's a surprisingly jaunty song from a musician who doesn't have a reputation for uplifting music. It's Not A Love Thing is another one that doesn't quite fit the usual mould. With Thea Gilmore on backing vocals, this is a lively, cheerful piece of radio friendly pop, and is arguably the pick of the songs on Joy Street.
The Old Superhero has the kind of melody that could have been lifted from Elbow, a building lightness that contrasts wonderfully with the Cohenesque verses. Razor-Wire And Tinsel, Helldorado, and Love Dies Petal By Petal aren't exactly songs that suggest a great deal of happiness, but all are strong tracks. The electric guitar of Jimmy Forres on the Razor-Wire And Tinsel is especially worthy of mention. Joy Street finishes with the gentle and muted All Those Afternoons, with its simple melody and greater concentration on the vocals.
Joy Street may be somewhat ironically named, filled as it is with darkness and melancholia, but there are enough lighter moments to provide a pleasurable juxtaposition and elevate the entire album. It's certainly an album that grows on you, improving with every listen, as you pick out more humour and a sense of the mischievous from the lyrics. This is well worth picking up.
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