Joy is a singer/songwriter, the basic format of his songs between him and acoustic guitar. He’s ok; to call him average is harsh — to write and play one decent song is too much for most of us — but he brings nothing new to the game. Noah And The Whale did something similar, and better, a few years back.
However, a fair few songs are improved by additions that beef up the basic sound exponentially: the “Ooos” in opener Call If You Need Me or the brass arrangement on Lay It On Me, which swells nicely at the end. The sleeve is a good indication of the music. Joy is the minimalist painting, the added bits contribute the colours.
In his favour, it’s a nice listen, even if it’s not exciting. We quite like most of it, it’s just whether you should buy this ahead of other albums.
We can imagine this getting played in those surfer resorts where Jack Johnson is on continuous rotation, and his (Vance’s) target audience is probably surfer dudes and students, who can sit and chat earnestly while this plays in the background.
Try We’re Going Home or Lay It On Me; Alone With Me is also good; standout is perhaps Little Boy because of the touching lyrics. Actually, the more we play it, the more we like it but we stand by the comments about him being middling. Pleasant, though.