Nick and Shane Sullivan are Joyer, a New Jersey lo-fi indie/slowcore duo. Today, we’re thrilled to share Peeled, the brothers’ sophomore album, an intimate suite of songs plotted with the precision of an art film: slow, minimalist and naturalistic, yet focused, layered and complex.
In comparison to the duo’s self-titled 2017 debut (which, as evidence of Joyer’s art film ties, had several of its songs featured in Joseph Ralko’s 2018 short film Death Suit), Peeled is similar in form, but a notable step forward in its presentation. The title Peeled is quite fitting: it represents the peeling back of the obfuscatory and distracting qualities that would prevent us from seeing the greater picture (which is made up of many, smaller pictures). While there’s still plenty of warm, cozy tape hiss, there’s generally an added level of clarity to the production, with the guitars higher in the mixes while still allowing the brothers’ lyricism to be more legible than before. Nick and Shane share the literary pen across the album, with Nick’s lyrics largely inspired by the works of Harmony Korine: observatory of the absurd, flawed and often ugly complexion of humanity, yet investigative of the beauty that lies within. Shane’s, meanwhile, are more closely tied to Tarkovsky’s Stalker: embracing the quiet, ominous and solitary moments with nature. By adjoining and tackling these perspectives, Peeled portrays a world both dichotomous and whole, spaced out into puzzle pieces for two separate puzzles that form one master puzzle for the listener to wedge together and come to some greater understanding of people and their relation to the surroundings they inhabit.
While the compositions on Peeled are not busy, this isn’t to say that they lack in complexities. Even the most stripped down of environments and moments are filled with small unpredictabilities, which Joyer symbolically replicate. Odd time signatures and key modulations come both slowly and suddenly, lulling you into a false idea of what’s normal and then quietly subverting your expectations, just as any small but notable anomaly in established routine would.
There’s something subtly profound about Peeled, something both very clear when experiencing it and difficult to fully express through words. If it were a film, it’d be low on dialogue and action and high on held, zoomed-in shot compositions of people walking through the woods alone at night, the changes in a person’s posture when among strangers, the way a person eats when they’re being watched versus when they’re not. It’s uncommon sensation in rock music, and it’s one well worth exploring for yourself.
You can stream Joyer’s Peeled below:
Favorite tracks: “Looking In”, “Fork”
Rating: Strongly Recommended
July 27th – The Tide Pool – Philadelphia, PA
August 8th – Flemington DIY – Flemington, NJ
August 9th – The Living Gallery – Brooklyn, NY
August 14th – TBA – Connecticut
August 15th – Jim’s Basement – Burlington, VT
August 16th – The Lily Pad – Boston, MA
August 17th – Sixty Six Congress – Brooklyn, NY
August 18th – TBA – Philadelphia, PA
August 19th – House Show – Nutley, NJ
Joyer’s ‘Peeled’ is out June 29th digital and cassette via Baklava and is available to pre-order here.