James Keogh (aka Vance Joy) has been making waves internationally over the last year and a half, he released his debut EP God Loves You When You’re Dancing in early 2013 and his single Riptide has been a viral hit in home country Australia, it was recently used for a GoPro advertising campaign in the US, it’s been certified triple platinum by ARIA and has charted internationally; the song was voted to the top of Triple J’s Hottest 100 in 2013, a notable feat for the aspiring football player come musician. Now the singer/songwriter has released his debut album Dream Your Life Away for our listening pleasure.
The mellow Winds Of Change starts the ball rolling, it’s an enlightening dose of indie/folk that could have easily been influenced by Bob Dylan; the album’s second single Mess Is Mine continues the folk elements with the masterful finger picking and hand clapping, a track worthy of smashing out some airplay on indie radio stations, same can be said for fourth single Wasted Time. There isn’t any wonder as to why Riptide has done so well for the singer’s career, it’s catchy and Vance’s punchy vocal is a memorable resonation, its accompanying music video is a must-see as it’s directed to literally hangs on every word; Who I Am is a nice laid back little number, its simplistic instrumentation eases you into a calm state of mind. The record’s first single From Afar is an atmosphere consisting of subtle to intense elements of storytelling folk, not Joy’s strongest work but notable all the same; We All Die Trying To Get It Right also isn’t strong or too memorable.
The finger picking in Georgia is beautifully crafted, it introduces and drives the track well and its steady beat doesn’t overkill the vibe; Red Eye is the most enthralling track since Riptide, the soft verse launches into a chorus explosion that entices you. The guitar riff in First Time is captivating, when the beat kicks in you’re taken for good, its structure is heavily similar to Riptide; All I Ever Wanted
was a bit tedious, it didn’t really stand out like most if its predecessors. Joy tries the best that he can and pulls it off, Best That I Can is one of his wonderful mellow numbers where each lyric is important, “I’m sick of leaving things half done, things half said/I am trying the best that I can”, phrases relatable to many in a similar situation. The album ends on a slower note, My Kind Of Man demonstrates a sweeter and more raw element to Vance’s vocal.
Dream Your Life Away is a solid debut album release for Vance Joy; he has truly embraced his take on the alternative rock/indie folk scene, his knack for storytelling is evident in each track. Joy has a lot to thank Riptide for, not only did it virally get his name out there, but it has assisted in making Dream Your Life Away a highly anticipated album for 2014; hopefully his career won’t live in the song’s shadow, it’s evident he’s capable of offering so much more in years to come. Dream Your Life Away is an enjoyable listen whether you’ve heard of Vance Joy or not, or if you simply enjoy pumping some indie/folk through your speakers; it’s out now, so make sure you grab a copy!