The third studio album by Joywave, ‘Possession’, was released March 13th via Hollywood Records and is a reflection on the thoughts and feelings on the minds of many during these tumultuous times. Joywave tweeted, “Possession, which is about the struggle for control in our lives. Turns out we don’t have any…You can’t control the world around you and you don’t get to choose your circumstance. Nothing will ever be perfect— The only part that’s up to us is how we choose to deal with this truth.” The New York indie rock band comprised of lead singer/ songwriter Daniel Armbruster, guitarist Joseph Morinelli, keyboardist Benjamin Bailey, and drummer Paul Brenner didn’t spend years on this, as they were already formulating the theme and music on the album as recently as during their tour with Bastille last year.
Possession, which is mixed by Dan Grech-Marguerat (The Killers, Liam Gallagher, & Lana Del Rey), tackles the cathartic themes of understanding humanity on a personal/societal level. The whole album (especially the self-titled track) is hypnotic, enchanting and the music inspires the listener to listen more. The band still exerts their tender vocals, synth sounds, euphoric hooks, and unstoppable dancefloor grooves into this futuristic electronica dark-wave album that’s reminiscent of Depeche Mode’s earlier works. While the album is solidly a “Joywave” album, the band introduces new instruments like the flute, organ, shaker, and theremin, which all play an essential role.
Starting off with “Like A Kennedy”, a soft piano ballad with a symphonic guitar solo, the album starts off with a powerful message about gun violence: It’s a mirror, and the truth hurts. We are somehow still dealing with mass shootings on a daily basis 56 years after an iconic US President was gunned down in Dallas. Decades have gone by with little to no action. Their eerie Halloweenish song “F.E.A.R” really captures what many feel regarding what’s going on in our world- “You bow down surrounded by your fears”. Another creepy/spooky sonic track is “Blank Slate” that Armbruster commented, “It’s about truly giving yourself over to another person, not being too rigid and allowing yourself to be changed, which is really scary.”
The album also explores differing opinions, questioning authority, and viral topics that have surfaced in the media. It also confronts our current polarization, desensitization, and information overload we go through in a divided political climate that’s transcended worldwide. Possession is a mind-freeing album and brings up theories about the hidden agenda of news media. Joywave’s evolution from the basement to the big stage, fearlessly assimilating genres, motifs, and big ideas into its own one-of-a-kind identity are evident in Possession that make the album not only a good listen, but worthy of repeating to dig deep into its message.