A split EP is a grand form of art. It’s hard enough to make a finished product of one band’s work, but throwing that work in with another’s is a feat of…cojones, to say the least. Put emo “revival” soldiers Joie De Vivre and Prawn together and you get not only a good split, but tendencies of each band bleeding through into the other. It’s what a split should be and it’s a breath of fresh air for both bands’ catalogs.
The split begins with Chicago’s Joie De Vivre. Opener “Martin Park” is about as twinkly emo as they come, with a killer opening riff and manly whines to both make your eyes roll and your heart soar. Things calm down on their next track “Tenstopet”, which has a looming sense of Prawn’s sound over its entirety. The track honestly could easily be a b-side to Prawn’s previous release Ships, it’s that familiar. Joie De Vivre’s side ends with “Good Morning Mr. Franklin”, a track which feels like a hearty mix of the first two and makes the A-side come full circle quite well.
Flippin’ over, we have New Jersey’s Prawn, who present one less track than their predecessors but still pack as much of a punch. “Why You Always Leave A Note” lyrically clings onto Ships‘ underlying theme of traveling away from your issues, while still maintaining a sound of growth for the band, who recently enlisted a third guitarist. Closing track “Fracture” is Prawn’s response to “Tenstopet”: a mild departure from their usual sound to leave room for what Joie De Vivre has to offer. Prawn’s usual keynote adjective is “atmospheric”, but this track shows bare-bones songwriting, something which was apparent on the A-side.
Joie De Vivre and Prawn are an unlikely pairing in this genre, but they ended up working side by side quite well. This is some of the best work presented by both bands and it’s a strong release for both labels.
Joie De Vivre and Prawn’s split is available now via Topshelf Records and Count Your Lucky Stars Records.