Music Review – Joy returns mature

By Jamil Oakford/managing editor

After four years of playing “Riptide” to death, Vance Joy returns with his second album fueled by noticeable growth and interesting tracks.

Nation of Two seems to be an album about how to cope with relationships. With songs like “Call Me if You Need Me” and “Lay it on Me,” it highlights the joys and high points of being in a relationship while songs like “Alone With Me” illustrate how devastating those low points in a relationship can be.

Overall, the album is solid. Not only is it telling a generic story well with a strong voice, but the listener can’t help but enjoy the mellow vibe only Joy can bring to an album.

Joy offers the intimate, warm sound that invites the listener not just to be an onlooker to the start, middle and deterioration of the relationship he sings about, but to feel for them.

“Saturday Sun” is a noticeable favorite as it’s a happy song about meeting someone and becoming enraptured by their presence. With such sugary sweet lyrics like, “And still the memory’s right there, she put the breeze in my hair,” and “She felt like resting her head, my shoulder was the perfect height. We fit so right, so what’s goin’ on?” it’s hard to begrudge it.

The first half of the album is definitely more about the beginning of relationships — the thrill of meeting someone new, the start of really getting to know that person. But the tonal shift, or more accurately, the tonal evolution comes in midway. By the time the listener hits “Like Gold,” the album becomes more focused on serious love.

This is a great follow-up to Dream Your Life Away. It’s warm, it’s more mature and it feels fuller. If it takes Joy another four years to make his next album and have it better than this one, then Joy can take his sweet time with a follow-up.