by Tiana Feng
Release Date: March 4th, 2014
Label: Arts & Crafts
Robert Alfons goes alone in Joyland, no longer partnered with Maya Postepski (who is also in Austra). This leaves Alfons to expand his explorations into gothic pop sound.
This sound is something that is no stranger in 2014, as Hidden Cameras also released Age this year, both albums have their own take on darkness and sexual ambiguity. The album opens with the bright twinkles of the expansive “Slightly Floating”. The world which Alfons creates in the song is large and yet there is a sense of loneliness, that is until he invites you to party in “Geyron”. Though his vocals are inaudible, the beats are club worthy. “Capitol” has a discernable melody as Alfons shows off his incredible vocal range from a seducing bass to bright chorus. It gets even higher in the title track, “Joyland”, which has a cutesy, cartoon demeanor. It’s like Alfons went to bed after the party and started dreaming of candy and rainbows, or that cloud land thing in the Lego Movie. This should have been the soundtrack to that.
Alfons returns to his lonely state in “Are We Arc?” which sings, “I’m getting used to the loneliest of sounds”. According to urban dictionary an “Icabod” is a douchebag, but it might be one of my favourite tunes on Joyland as it combines the elements of dance anthem and hooky melody with a hint of darkness. “Four Gut” plays with panning in your headphones/speakers, while “Rescue, Mister” gets mischievous.
For the most part, Joyland isn’t so much a departure from his debut TRST but a refined version, in part from Alfons having total control. Joyland is the underground party for those who are single or unhappy with the way their lives are when the sun wakes up.