“We Multiply” romps out of your speakers kicking off Name Sayers’ Joyboys in the Grindhouse on an inspired note. The bright polish of the layered arrangement doesn’t betray the song’s authenticity one iota. It has a fitting tempo for an opener, establishing the album’s energy level from the jump, and Name Sayers sustains the cut throughout the song. It moves like a whirlwind in great synthesized gusts while physically engaging percussion supplies a fluid yet consistent foundation. Devin James Fry’s voice has an authoritative tone that cuts through the post-production effects and imbues the performance with an appealing pop vibe.
The second track “Receiving Evil” has a compelling split-personality. It opens as a groove-centric pop number Name Sayers builds around the rhythm section. Fry alters his vocal character from the opener and fills his delivery with lower-register dramatics illustrating the dexterity of his voice. It transforms into a jagged assault during the song’s second half, however, without that juxtaposition ever upsetting the composition’s balance. Attention-grabbing dynamics bookend “Reaper” and the band goes on to spice up the song’s hip-hop influences with wall of sound synth-pop that washes over the listener. It’s another of Joyboys in the Grindhouse’s impassioned tracks.
“Gravedancer” features Brooklyn rapper Chris Conde as a guest vocalist and his talents pair well with Fry’s voice. Turbulence is rife throughout this track like many others included on the album, but the orchestrated chaos that Name Sayers specializes in coalesces, once again, into a dark-hearted gem. Conde’s rapping during the second part of the track helps seal the deal without ever overshadowing the song. Fry essentially steps out of the frame for “Three Will Grow Back” as Conde returns, and Orlando rapper E-Turn joins him for the vocals. Fusing synth-pop and hip-hop produces a gripping hybrid that sounds like nothing else you’ll hear in the indie music world or beyond. Former MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer tosses his hat into the fray, as well, with switchblade guitar playing that further ups the ante. The bass playing anchoring “2 Go Missing” is one of its highlights. Irregular drumming fills the song with unique percussive counterpoints and the scattershot tempo creates unusual dynamics for Fry to sing over. It’s the album’s penultimate tune and a totally engrossing performance. The ominous edge percolating from first note to last is impossible to ignore.
Name Sayers closes Joyboys in the Grindhouse with “The Oblivion Seed”. The four-piece’s predilection for unusual tempos continues and creates a forboding, yet never heavy-handed, texture for this dark synth-pop final curtain. Fry’s voice glowers at the song’s center like a half-mad vocal sorcerer. This isn’t your usual alternative-minded fare. Name Sayers burn bright on the cutting edge of pop music’s possibilities without ever plunging into disconnected self-indulgence. The band wrote over forty songs for and during the recording of this release, cut their creative outburst down to eleven tracks, and ended up with the best possible representation of their powers. It’s a must-hear for anyone interested in modern music near its apex.
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