Vinyl Corner is a feature where we take a look at vinyl pressings of various albums and weigh them up to see just how good they sound, how well they’re pressed and what sort of packaging to expect – as well as giving a brief overview of the music itself. We’re returning to Joyful Noise Recordings once again to take a look a recent release of theirs – an intriguing collaboration between two seemingly disparate artists.
No Joy / Sonic Boom is an intriguingly unique collaboration between Jasamine White-Gluz (of noise rockers No Joy) and Spaceman 3’s Pete Kember (who here makes up the Sonic Boom portion of the name). Although the brevity of this duo’s debut release – a four track EP – might suggest a tentative proof of concept rather than a fully fledged success, it’s actually a well executed, engaging release and one that offers its fair share of surprises, even for those already familiar with the work of both artists. The 11+ opener ‘Obsession’ is something of an epic and finds the duo ascending through repetition, the song’s pulsating backbeat barely given a moments rest throughout the whole song.
As with most Joyful Noise releases, there’s more than one option when it comes to vinyl pressings of ‘No Joy / Sonic Boom’. We’re looking here at the pink vinyl pressing, but there is also a green version which should sound much the same. The shade of pale pink used here is really attractive and befits the relaxed, borderline ethereal mood of the EP. We did find that the record had some minor warping which was visible during playback but we had no issues at all with tracking and sound and fidelity remained unaffected. Speaking of sound – it reveals itself to be very impressive indeed upon listening. The pressing is almost unbelievably quiet for a normal priced modern release. While we’ve certainly heard audiophile pressings with quality control as high as this, those releases tend to charge a pretty penny for their lack of surface noise. This pressing, on the other hand, manages to be both very clean and reasonably priced. The noise floor on this press is very low and, even on run-ins, our copy was free of any obviously noticeable crackle or surface noise. The sonics are nice and sharp too; cut at 45rpm and still retaining short sides, grooves are spaced-out enough to avoid any risk of distortion and overall sound quality is very solid.
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Packaging and presentation on this release is not as extravagant as some Joyful Noise releases we’ve looked at in the past, but nor is it anything less than respectable. The sleeve is single pocket and non-gatefold, made from mid-weight card. Image print quality is sharp and focused throughout and a hype sticker on the shrinkwrap gives a heads-up as to the colour of the record inside. We would say that the text on the spine could ideally have been a little larger but that’s splitting hairs. Although no inserts are included here, the record is housed inside a high quality black generic polylined inner from new, which is a bonus and earns a hearty thumbs-up from us.
As per usual, Joyful Noise have done things right here and the vinyl version of No Joy / Sonic Boom is great stuff from top to bottom, with a genuinely impressive pressing that sounds as good as it looks.