Music Review: Vance Joy

James Keogh is better known by his stage name, Vance Joy, but by any other name, his music  would sound just as sweet.

This Australian singer-songwriter started out performing at open mic nights in Melbourne.  His music has been described as folk with pop influences.  He is best known for the single Riptide which was further popularised by the FlicFlac remix.

Riptide was placed in the top position for the 2013 triple J Hottest 100.  It further peaked at the sixth position in the ARIA Charts (Australia’s Official Music Charts).  It was certified triple platinum in Australia.

The music genre is Indie-folk carried on the sound of the Ukelele.  Joy relies in his independent sound without isolating mainstream listeners.  Joy is of the Tom Odell, Passenger and Ben Howard generation and echoes a familiar tone in his music.  Memorable tunes, harmonies, climactic instrumentals and a crystal voice makes for delightful music.

Joy sings love without leaving you hopeless and broken on the inside.  There is positivity to his sound that has been missing from the folk music scene for a long time.

His lyrics are like a long-written love letter.  ‘Emmylou’ is particularly comforting with a bridge where Joy reiterates the words “You are loved.” ‘Snaggletooth’ is a modern serenade defeating the insecurities a girl may have of her imperfections.  ‘Riptide’ has a jolly energy to it and with a peculiar music video to match it.  Riptide was described as a coming of age love story by critics.  ‘Play with Fire’ tells a story of unrequited love or rather a relationship with double standards, one person more committed than the other in the relationship.  ‘From Afar’ narrates the beauty of falling in love.

Joy’s career in music took flight with the release of his EP, God Loves You When Your Dancing, in March 2013.  According to his website, current tour plans are for Australia, and North America, Canada and parts of the United Kingdom and Europe after June.

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