Joy Zipper American Whip Review

Album. Released 2004.  

BBC Review

Charming melodies, heart-melting harmonies and hazy lo-fi guitars distil into an...

Richard Banks 2004

In 2003, Ministry of Sound pulled the financial rug from under the feet of their tributary 13 Amp label, indefinitely suspending the release of Joy Zipper's American Whip. Fifteen months on, the Long Island duo's second album has finally been saved from obscurity. And about time, too.

Joy Zipper are Tabitha Tindale and Vincent Cafiso. Named after Tabitha's mum, they've been a couple for around ten years, which might explain the gooey sentimentality that occasionally graces their work. Essentially, the Joy Zipper sound hasn't deviated much from that of their eponymous debut album in 2000. Their charming melodies, heart-melting harmonies and hazy lo-fi guitars distil into an intoxicating alt-pop nectar.

But, underneath the saccharine My Bloody Valentine-style orchestration lies a darker underbelly; at times, Tindale's voice entices with the bittersweet allure of a Siren's song. On the blissful "33x", for instance, she sings 'I'm getting tired of life' with all the innocent charm of a nursery rhyme.

American Whip tells tales of infatuation, drugs, making enemies and, strangely, mental disorders (see the eerie "Alzheimer's"). It seems the duo's intriguing mix of sweet and sinister is the result of a blossoming song writing partnership. "I tend to write more of the poppier things, I think that's in my nature", Tindale reveals. "Vinny writes more of the cerebral, weird things. Combined together, that's why it works, that's why we're Joy Zipper."

It's certainly an irresistible combination. "Baby You Should Know", "Ron" and "Out Of the Sun" all feature mesmerizing choruses that'll have you grinning like a child. Out of twelve songs, however, three fall short of a minute long, making American Whip disappointingly short. Consequently, you wouldn't want to set it to repeat play; it's a bit like hot chocolate with marshmallow: nice, but a little sickly after several mugs. That said, it remains an enchanting and comforting record that should keep you warm 'til summer.

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