It’s been two years since Joe Flory released his debut album under the name Amateur Best and he’s finally giving us what we’ve so craved: another full length release. This one is entitled The Gleaners and once again he’s taking DIY to a whole new realm, with Flory producing and mixing everything himself. It’s an album full of varied sounds that divvy between muted somewhat melancholy tracks to full on dance rhythms.
Opening The Gleaners is one of slower, almost pop ballads Rely. It sees him put the drum kits away and just rely on a gloomy melody with his organic, easy vocals to shine through and steal the track, crooning an oddly haunting tale “Cool cats, love attack, stab yourself right in the back” / “I was never catching, I was always falling with you”. Taking notes from the slower sounds of Rely is closing track No Sleep. Although it does feature a subtle beat it’s a much slower groove with the gentle, warm vocals almost melting into the smooth electro hooks that spike in the verses. You’ll also be struck by the sharp shooting, metallic sounds of Part Timer that fade to a cleaner beat that builds back up to hype the melody. It’s a delicate mix of fast and slow tempos that rise and fall, left without singing to highlight how sounds can work with one another without the aid of vocal verses and choruses.
The rest of the album features a strong raving sound, take the electro wild track Marzipan, it’s a track with striking elements that are easy to get on board with and groove too. It’s packed with a snappy beat, swirling synth that’s delicious dance pop with lyrics that are almost embedded into the track, “you shouldn’t worry about your figure you should worry about your soul” and the repeated word “marzipan” that’s almost part of the beat rather than a lyric. On the same wavelength of inspired EDM is Leviathan an impressive, big tune containing electronic riffs that build and blend into something else and vocals that have a frantic edge making it one you want to dance along with.
The Gleaners is certainly in a league of its own taking electronic dance music to new heights, Amateur Best is a genius act. The soul that’s embedded into each track and the record as a whole is something you don’t often find the in manufactured sounds of experimental pop but Joe Flory takes it in his stride and proves that you don’t need a mega production team to make an epic sounding album.