Welcome back to the vintage era of punk-pop. Start to finish, Joy Again’s latest EP, Piano, is a triumph. Newcomers to the Philadelphia-based band’s sugary rock style may be thrown off at first by the songs’ often cynical and tongue-in-cheek lyrics. But upon further listening, the EP comes to emanate the duality of rebellion and softness in many of us. 

It evokes a hurried pace, keeping your head up despite a cold day or finishing that last part of a long project. There is chaos in the drumming and electric pitch of each brief song, yet Piano constantly reminds us that there is also humor within that chaos. It is something that listeners need in 2019.

Piano’s heaviest hitting songs are singles “Country Song” and “Couldn’t,” tackling rejection and desperation. These songs, juxtaposed against a sardonic soundtrack filled with whimsical riffs and classic drum lines, create an eerie call to those vaguely uncomfortable emotions that so many of us push away. Joy Again challenges listeners to feel those emotions, and to find a new way to look at them. 

Shorter tracks like “Abaigh’s Song” and “Special Secret Medicine,” give listeners a strange and technicolor escape, launching them straight into a spunky sort of nostalgia. 

This EP leaves us wanting more from Joy Again and absolutely unwilling to wait for new music.