11 Nov 2014

Album Review: Jouis "Dojo"

Reviewed by Nathan Ford

This Brighton based quintet's debut sounds extremely well lived in. In June 2013 they set to work building their own studio by converting, and acoustically treating two rooms in an abandoned office block. As a result their debut "Dojo" has the relaxed sound of an album made in an unhurried fashion, in an environment where the band are completely at ease to explore any possible directions that their songs could go in, without time constraints or record company executives breathing down their collective necks.

"Dojo" shows Jouis to be a largely unpigeonholeable band. There are traces of the early seventies Canterbury scene provided by jazzy percussion and lovely cascading keys, but where the proggy bands of old often fell down in the vocals department, Jouis excel, with tight, everpresent CSN style harmonies that go down smooth like honey. This combination of vintage Laurel Canyon style harmonies and progressive psychedelia is bound to appeal to fans of Midlake, but Jouis have an improvisational group mind that allows for much more explorative passages than the Midlake lads have so far showed themselves as capable of pulling off.

This ability to effortlessly switch from the tightly structured and melodic, to spontaneous and free form and back again, is a rare gift. Opener "All That Is And Is One" is a compelling teaser to draw you into their "Dojo" but the album is best experienced by full immersion, rather than plucking tracks here and there.

Highly recommended.

Vinyl, CD, full stream and digital purchase available here.

And check out Lucky Bozu's amazing animated video for "Misty Maker Stomp" here:

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