by Myles Tiessen
As one half of the electronic-dance duo Prince Innocence, Prince Josh released his debut solo LP The Joy back in March of 2020. Darkness and desolation are intrinsic qualities of this down-tempo House album, but hidden with the moments of despair are glimpses of hope, sanity, and of course, joy.
The dichotomy of sincerity and cynicism blend perfectly together, opening your mind up to remember those moments where joy and sadness walked together hand-in-hand.
The DIY aesthetic of this project adds further to the isolation felt on the project. The opaque samples weaved perfectly amongst the soft 4-to-the-floor beat add to each track’s complexity, strengthen the songs, and further add to the project’s dusty nature. The samples on each track blend so seamlessly that you can hardly tell the difference between an indiscriminate sample and a legitimate feature. Cold Specks’ soulful vocals on “Asha” are one of the album’s highlights, but sadly get lost behind the album’s stand-out track “Blood.” With LA Timpa’s monotone perfectly capturing the track’s temperament and Yves Jarvis’ woozy melodies flying overhead, “Blood” becomes one of the best R&B tracks in recent memory.
The joy feels like a soundtrack to endings. By embracing misanthropy, Prince Josh finds a way to maintain a particular ‘tumbler-punk’ characteristic, never fully welcoming pessimism, making it feel like you can make friends with your demons. As a soundtrack to endings, The Joy reacts positively to the bitterness of life. Take experiences like broken relationships, coming down off drugs, or the simple Sunday blues; maybe leaning into the grievous nature of those emotions can help you heal? Regardless, The Joy is the start to a hopefully long and industrious solo career from Prince Josh.