My Disco has always been concerned with an almost militant approach to repetition and, unsurprisingly, expansive discipline is the axis on which the group’s third full-length, Little Joy, spins. Since the release of the band’s 2006 debut LP Cancer (mapping out member Liam Andrews’ stint with Hodgkin lymphoma), the trio from Melbourne, Australia has challenged listeners to look past the direct immediacy of a single note played again and again, and conversely to its continuity.
As with My Disco’s previous albums, Little Joy retains a certain sternness held at its core by Liam’s steadfast approach to both voice and bass. The melodies are laid out unadorned, and while he is choosy with where he enters vocally, Liam opts to repeat lines for a mantra-like effect. This potential starkness is offset and warmed by the propulsion of Ben Andrews’ (brother of Liam) guitar and Rohan Rebeiro’s subtly invasive drums that wane from mild to murderous. All three members take to the LP’s nine tracks with post-punk minimalism and as tracks draw on and the elements begin to take on a cohesive shape, it appears that by attacking with less, Little Joy inevitably comes together as more.
The band seems to like to stick with a good thing once it finds it, and again My Disco called upon the talents of recording engineer Steve Albini (Nirvana, the Pixies, Joanna Newsom and countless others) for assistance. However unlike before, the mixing was left to Sydney-based producer Scott Horscroft, whose work with glossy Australian acts such as the Presets contributes additional sharpness and clarity to the recordings. Through this, Little Joy’s tenderness unfolds, and its softest moment comes through the title track (or coming as close to one), “Lil’ Joy.” “I’ll be here/Just wait it out,” Liam promises, over and over. The challenge held within the entire album is there; now it’s just a matter of patience.