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Ode to Joy anyone? It had to be said. Calm down, I’m not going to compare her to Beethoven, but she’s pretty good. Joy is seventeen year-old Olivia McCarthy and she’s just dropped her four-track EP Ode, all of which is produced by her good self. She also wrote all her own songs, and is a multi-instrumentalist. She’s sung for Peking Duk, supported Miami Horror, The Kite String Tangle, and Dustin Tebbut. Upcoming appearances include Laneway Festival and Field Day as well as her own tour for Ode. Did I mention she’s still technically child? I did? I’m sorry. If she was any more impressive we’d all have dents in us. At this point you start to question all those decisions to play FIFA instead of dedicating your time to your chosen art form.
Youth is a beautiful thing. Experience both as Joy gives a one-woman lesson in alternative pop with her brand new EP Ode.
There’s no shortage of talented female indie and alternative pop stars at the moment. Joy joins other recent outstanding performers like Banks, Eves the Behaviour, Mezko, and Buoy. Fuelled by coffee and doughnuts, Joy took a week in Sydney to make “a lot of whack shit” that culminated in four polished songs that connect as pleasingly as Duplo.
Closer Heads or Tails seems to tie back to opener Falling both in lyrical tone and with the featured piano. In between we have the more beat-heavy electronic tracks About Us and Crazy For You. These two have a few more effects, building and branching out the record, but the content stays consistent to create a really solid through-line for the EP. It makes for an enthralling listen.
Falling begins and first impressions go something like this: I’m a moody astronaut… damn that’s some sweet piano. She keeps things simple throughout the track, allowing you to stay submerged in that tingling goosebump-inducing presence she’s created. Joy says it best when she sings, “I think I’m intoxicated by you.”
About Us was the first single we heard from the EP and it remains just as strong, if not even stronger, when put into the context of the record as a whole. Immediately a touch more energetic, the track moves faster through this suspended space of bliss that Joy is in. Despite the heartache I hear in the lyrics somehow it’s still soothing, a testament to her voice.
Crazy For You is an edgier affair that goes some way to breaking the entrancing spell Joy conjures as ears and eyes try desperately to inflict synaesthesia. Heads Or Tails brings the piano back to make the muscles heavy again, but vocally Joy executes a fantastic rhythm amongst a perfect cocktail of background and foreground sounds. A feast for the brain already, the EP strikes meltdown when the violin joins in to end the track on such a beautiful note that it is near impossible not to hit repeat on the entire record. This loop goes on quite a while.
Joy has created something magical and seamless with Ode. With just four tracks she’s almost managed to convince us that we’ve got everything we could ever want. Almost. The truth is we want an LP, please.
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