Producer/Artist FTSE (Sam Manville) has finally given the public what we’ve so craved since releasing his trio of EP’s, a full-length album. Joyless is a bold voice for the debut release from this Midland native, and it’s essentially a jab at our over globalised society set behind fresh electronic mixes and notification sounds. FTSE should be considered a voice for this generation; he’s pretty much an angry poet using his computer skills to create some crazy electronic noise.
Each track on this album tackles some different issues we face as an over-connected, over-priced and over-stimulated society. Ranging from the fact that we’ve dehumanised life to his take on religion and finally why it’s all essentially meaningless. FTSE has mastered the art of chaotic pop and electronic beats that have soul with hard-hitting lyrics, all in a neat eleven-track bundle. Manville’s expressive voice is dripping in his strong accent through his spoken word verses and it serves to create a voice of reason behind his music. Also featuring throughout the album is the soft and sweet voice of his wife Taz who serves as level of irony. All of this is layered above and beyond a unique blend of jungle beats, sirens, rising crescendo notes and even all too familiar notification sounds.
While all of the tracks on Joyless are catchy in the sense that they grab your attention from the get go, there are some standouts that pull you into their lyrical meaning and make you realize it’s nothing but truth FTSE is spinning. “Binary”, “Blood On My Hands” and, “Celebrities” are all completely diverse in their song content, but hit on the fact that we’re consumed by the digital age plus how the Internet is turning us into a soulless and superficial society. It’s tracks like these that are instantly stuck in your brain because they don’t need a second thought to play on your mind; it’s something we’re all completely wrapped up in.
The final song, the title track of this record Joyless is the ultimate closing tune, it rounds out the album and serves as a final reminder of what FTSE has created. It’s a haunting track while the beats are repetitive, they’re left quite minimal to really showcase the content of the verses and choruses. It’s the type of song that stays with you when the album concludes. Lyrics like “enjoy this, even though it’s pointless” and “so tell me why we’re joyless” which is the ending line that’s rapidly repeated until you’re left in blank silence – it truly makes you reflect, not just on that track but on everything you just heard. It serves as a bit of a wake up call.
Joyless is an awkwardly accurate portrayal of what we’ve become as a society set behind a fusion of sound. FTSE is kind of like a poet full of angst as he screams into the digital void in the hopes that someone will listen, but knowing some people are too consumed to notice. He’s more than a producer; he’s an artist who’s created an intense collection of slam poetry produced in a studio, set behind layers of sound that will leave you questioning what we’ve become in the modern world we live in.