The pleasures of Little Joy, a casually assembled, self-titled side project anchored by Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti, are small but concise, shimmering little droplets of song that never muster much more than a breeze. It’s a sunny album with low aspirations, which in this case is a compliment. The sound is homespun, like a recording session on a screened-in porch, free of concept or any type of over-extending reach—all facts that elevate its indolent vibe to something that becomes nearly transcendent in its simplicity. “The Next Time Around” is a lazy, beachfront march in three-part harmony; “Shoulder to Shoulder” drifts along like a paper boat on little more than snare-rim clicks and some backing-vocal cooing; while “Evaporar” floats by on nothing more than picked guitar and nearly whispered Portuguese lyrics. Any visible Strokes influence is filtered out, drained of any cynicism or attitude, like “No One’s Better Sake,” where some familiar sounding chords are broken up by offbeat drums and trilling organ. Whether its street date is fortuitous or carefully planned, the light and airy Little Joy‘s November release makes it all the more welcome. In short, the perfect antidote for the times when there isn’t a palm tree in sight.
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