‘Further Joy’ Review: Taking Punk Out of Pop Punk Sound

Photo credit: Claire Tweedie

The release of their third studio album, “Further Joy,” officially set the stage for a maturing in The Regrettes characteristic garage punk rock sound toward a slightly more saccharine sweet pop music filled soundtrack. Filled with upbeat tunes and softer vocals, the album, which released April 8 and featured previously released singles “That’s What Makes Me Love You” and “Anxieties (Out of Time),” takes the punk out of the pop punk music for the band and speaks to a shift in the band’s ambiguously defined genre. While the new additions to their discography may lack the biting juvenile sound fans loved, the catchy instrumentals and heart-felt lyrics show that The Regrettes are merely growing into themselves, and are bringing their talent along for the ride. 

The ultimate stand-out of the album is “Monday.” The transition from genre to genre is best emphasized here, with an intro similar to the one from “Stop and Go” that gives a glimpse into the band’s music-making sessions and grounds it in reality. Even if they sound more polished, it’s still a bunch of young adults messing around making music they love. The theme is encapsulated in lead singer Lydia Night’s lyrics, where she mourns that “These growing pains, they push me ‘til I break.” She goes on to ask “Tell me I’m alive,” and here, the sudden shift in tone and surge of upbeat instrumentals show that this genre change is deliberate as she answers herself, singing “Hey, I’m still alive” in the chorus. The contrast of grittier, more familiar sounds in the verses, pre-chorus and bridge that call back to the band’s previous album genres allows the audience to transition into what the rest of the album will be with the chorus, a pop tune about love, change and growth. 

In the trend of answers and themes posed in previous albums, “That’s What Makes Me Love You” feels like an answer to the second studio album’s titular track “How Do You Love?” In that song from 2019, the frustrated tone and lyrics sound like a bitter child confused at their outpour of emotions. Now, the songwriter has thrown themselves into that overwhelming love and embraced it, even with the challenges it possesses. The beat and drums make it so you simply can’t resist dancing to and the vocals are soft, guiding the listener into a similar trance of ease and contentment it describes. With slightly more repetitive lyrics and a more traditionally cynic view on love that The Regrettes have proven to hold in the past, “Barely On My Mind” is good for its simplicity. It follows the footsteps of “That’s What Makes Me Love You” for its soft sound and sway-worthy instrumentals but is unique enough that there’s no overlap in enjoyability between the two. “Homesick” is a testament to the band’s lyrical talent. It’s a slower and gentler song in comparison to the dancing tunes previously mentioned, but it holds a certain amount of raw, heartfelt emotion the others don’t fully understand. The Regrettes are no stranger to love ballads, but this slightly more morose tone adds complexity and depth to the album. It’s a Regrettes album because it’s not just another empty pop album to sell out, that realization is the key trait that makes it another worthwhile album and ultimately keeps fans listening.

The album is definitely different from what the band did previously, but it maintains the gritty blueprint that made them popular in the first place without trading individuality for fame. For the more Top 40 sound they now hold, they don’t skimp out on dark lyrics questioning insecurity and uncertainty, remaining unapologetic in their messaging. The band steps away from the garage sound and steps into a more professional light. “Further Joy” is just one step closer to the future of The Regrettes, and so far they’re on the road to continued success.