Thick, muscly and full of a raucous adrenaline that is muted by the adjacent elements in the track, the guitar parts are easily the most ear-catching and well-produced component of the new single and music video from The Bobbleheads, “Joey.” Following a brief introduction in the video, they come pouring out of the speakers with a vibrancy that is infectious and sterling in tonality, and in the next few minutes that pass they’ll form the basis for the backbone of the track almost entirely. “Joey” isn’t a single defined by its flashy fretwork, but it should be said that it definitely wouldn’t be nearly as appealing without its spot-on riffing.
Aside from the guitars, this track has a pretty great beat that doesn’t overwhelm us with needless virtuosities (for better or worse, mind you). There’s a steadiness to the drums that remains consistent from one end of the song to the other, and despite the absence of any remarkable fills or strategic grooves that might have emphasized the swing in the rhythm better, the percussion in “Joey” serves the melodies well and inspires us to move to the music even during its slower moments. That’s tough to pull off, and while it’s hardly seamless here, it’s still pretty far from sounding straight-up amateurish.
The lead vocal in “Joey” really ties everything together nicely, but I don’t find it to be the most expressive element in this latest song from The Bobbleheads at all – that title belongs to the harmonies, which colorize the emotionality in the words more than anything else does in this track. These verses are virtually basic when juxtaposed with some of the postmodernity I’ve heard on the Top 40 lately, but they don’t have to be particularly thrilling to get a point across to us; through the bittersweet harmonies, most listeners will likely be able to understand what the band is trying to tell us here clearly.
I think that the music video for “Joey” is somewhat overambitious relative to its soundtrack, though I don’t think that the contrast is so glaring that the content becomes off-putting. To me, it just seems a bit excessive to create such a long, movie-like intro to the song itself when what I’m really looking to connect with is the group’s energy when they’re playing in front of a stack of Orange Amps in the background. The video is so-so, but the song shines through just enough to make it a credible watch.
While I wasn’t very familiar with their music prior to now, The Bobbleheads have submitted a single in “Joey” that definitely makes me curious to hear more from their studio sessions in the future. Their style is an interesting cocktail of old fashioned alternative rock and new school attitude, and though they’re not the only band developing this kind of a sound in the underground right now, they’re still worth taking a look at if you’re in the market for new independent music this month just the same. “Joey” isn’t a game-changer, but it’s a good autumn find for puritan alt-rock riff enthusiasts for sure.