Joy Atlas – “Drop Your Sword” (Stereogum Premiere)
UK geometric pop quartet Joy Atlas only have a couple songs to their name, but their nimble blend of musicality, danceability, and feathery but deceptively piercing vocals belies their newness. Though it’s just their third single, “Drop Your Sword” is a gorgeous bit of dream pop built upon layers of exquisite textures and intertwining lines.
Beccy Owen’s delicate melodies and effortless harmonies float above music with precision and intricacy that rivals math rock. Owen’s vocals massage the density of the soundscape beneath her, smoothing the glitchy drums, stuttering synth blips, and complex bass pattern so they meld together seamlessly. And when the instrumentation overtakes her gauzy flourishes for the crescendo, it adds an urgency to the hook when she pleads for her partner to drop their sword and accept her love. It’s a gorgeous song that captures the feeling of wanting to love someone despite their flaws and any misgivings only to have your efforts thwarted by seemingly impenetrable defenses. But it also evokes the power a heartfelt call for a ceasefire can wield. Listen.