Joywave is not your typical indie rock band. With an 80’s rock influence, their lyrics present a sardonic perspective on society and culture. Frontman Daniel Armbruster, guitarist Joseph Morinelli, and drummer Paul Brenner say that they made “Cleanse”, their latest album, during a time of uncertainty, and the album reflects on the unprecedented societal aspects of living through a pandemic. The band’s songwriting incorporates metaphors and direct references to the waves of cynical, chaotic, ridiculous, and sometimes apathetic aspects of being a human. Initially, ‘Cleanse’ was inspired by Armbuster’s first job at a car wash. “I thought of the band, after years spent on the road taking a breather. Going through that wash process. Watching all the dirt and mud stripped away. Coming out the other side refreshed and rejuvenated,” he explained. Truly, the album presents a surprisingly refreshing and unique perspective on human needs, desires, and impulses. With their signature deadpan humor, satire, and sarcasm, cleverly masked as superficial lyrics, Joywave is reevaluating what it means to be a part of a world full of greed, misfortune, jealousy, and narcissism. Take, for example, the opening track, ‘Pray For The Reboot’, the band’s pessimistic analysis of current events. It sets a gloomy tone but presents hope for a rebirth of society. Some songs, like “Buy American” and “Cyn City 2000”, reflect on consumerist culture, a theme present in many of Joywave’s tunes. On “The Inversion”, the band’s self-proclaimed “darkest song on the record”, the digital world is scrutinized in a lyrical frenzy. “Most of us live two lives, one digital and one physical,” Armbruster said, “They compete for our attention constantly, but over the past couple of years the balance has shifted heavily as COVID forced us to live in the digital realm even more than we already were.” Overall, it’s safe to say that Joywave’s music has blossomed throughout their relentless pondering of human drive during unparalleled times.
Joywave spoke with B-Sides host Pete Mar about their perspectives on society and digital media, how the pandemic changed them, and how it influenced their new album ‘Cleanse’.