Last weekend I had the pleasure of seeing Joy Crookes perform live at BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend and she was easily one of the highlights of the festival. I got to hear some of her classics that I’ve grown to love and a newer song that has been stuck in my head ever since that day and now I get to hear them all together on her new EP Perception.
We open with Hurts, the track I was previously talking about, that has a hook that addictive to listen to and you’ll find yourself consistently singing it under your breath. A sun kissed production makes this perfect to listen to on warm summer days with lyric depicting a friendship gone wrong.
No Hands then comes in by offering a more alternative jazz feeling with a luscious guitar melody and a mellow percussion section adding more a trip hop feel to the song with Crookes’ soulful vocal effortlessly soaring over the soundscape. It’s a grower of a song where you’ll inadvertently find your head bopping along to the beat and swaying along to the melody in no time at all.
Then we have the follow up track which is somber ode to the city of London which Crookes wrote about the treatment of immigrants when the Windrush scandal came out. In London Mine she manages to capture the subtle things that make people fall in love with the city, from the charm on Kennington Road, Bangla noises on Brick Lane or even just the orange haze coming from the street lights. It’s a beautiful representation of the city that I’m sure many living here will relate to (including myself).
We then have the emotional centre piece of the EP with the emotionally enthralling Since I Left You with only Crookes’ celestial vocal and a tender piano leading. Lyrically this song is pure poetry and paints a picture of her heartbreak so you feel every gut punching blow, “You dined on my demons when I was just seeking / For someone who I could call home.” It’s my favourite track of the EP and expertly demonstrates the emphasises the heart and soul she puts into her songs.
The grand finale of this track combines everything we’ve loved about this EP and more with Darkest Hour being a slow builder that starts off with a minimalistic production before building to a climatic end, that features a wonderful brass section. It ends the EP on a high note and further cements her as one of the leading alternative soul artists out there right now. I highly recommend diving into her discography to hear the rest of her storytelling beauty.