Joyrobix' is Brummy-abroad Joe Snape’s flooring return to Slip: a songbook of nimble, aching pop that wrings raggedy solace from dejection and displacement.
Begun as a danceable refix of pieces for chamber ensemble toured the last three years, production on 'Joyrobix' stalled sharply in 2016. Instead of a self-confident exercise in documentation, the record twisted into a darker, more lyrical original: a period portrait of dislocation and burnout following Snape's move to the US in 2015.
There’s still plenty of fun to be had. Between the adult contemporary guitars, gospel grooves, and Broadway melisma, the tropes of a musical America are present, correct, and indefatigably uptempo.
But even at his most playful, Snape sounds like a musical mind running on fumes, the optimistic experimentalism of 2015's 'Brittle Love' audible only through a weary cloud, and the black dog never altogether quieted. Nor could it be: 'Joyrobix' sounds like a working-out – here manic, there taciturn – of a New World dream gone sideways.