Cult Scottish miserabilists The Just Joans are delighted to be releasing their first new album in more than a decade, following the band’s signing to Fika Recordings.
Formed in Glasgow in 2005, The Just Joans have evolved from a shambling two-piece to an accomplished sextet that embraces rivalry and relationship in the vocals of siblings, David and Katie Pope.
Once described as ‘the missing link between The Magnetic Fields and The Proclaimers’, the band have used self-awareness and self-deprecation to continuously explore themes of angst, heartbreak and detachment in their songs.
From their 2006 debut album Last Tango in Motherwell through a series of successful EPs, to 2012’s compilation Buckfast Bottles In The Rain, the acerbic wit in David Pope’s observational lyrics have helped make the band a firm favourite of the indie-pop scene. Their rise has seen them play a plethora of international festivals, such as Wales Goes Pop, Indiefjords, NYC Popfest, and of course the Indietracks festival, of which they have been long-standing cult favourites since their first appearance in 2008.
The band are excited to release You Might Be Smiling Now…, a self-recorded and produced collection of new songs. The release offers more of the same cynicism, but from an older if not necessarily wiser perspective as evidenced on lead single No Longer Young Enough and You Make Me Physically Sick (Let’s Start Having Children) is a jaundiced slice of toybox pop that crosses The Human League and Harold Steptoe.
Complementing this shift in tone comes a more polished electronic sound on tracks A Matter of Time and Someone Else That You Like More Than Me while O' Caledonia sails along at a blistering pace like no Just Joans lament before it.
Despite the band’s obvious maturity, You Might Be Smiling Now... still manages to maintain all the emotional charm and whimsical melodies that led The List to view The Just Joans as ‘a lovable blend of sleepy acoustic guitars, Brian Wilson-esque harmonies and West Coast sarcasm.’
Discussing the new album, singer-songwriter David Pope:
“You Might Be Smiling Now... could be considered a loose concept album. The songs detail the confusion in my teenage years, the horror of my twenties and the terror of my encroaching middle age. It's somewhat self-indulgent, but I hope that these wee stories about small town boredom, drunken romance and misty-eyed nostalgia resonate with the other overgrown teenagers out there in their mid-thirties.”
The Just Joans are David Pope (vocals and guitar), Katie Pope (vocals), Chris Elkin (lead guitar), Fraser Ford (bass guitar), Doog Cameron (keyboards) and Jason Sweeney (drums).
"The Just Joans have documented the romantic pratfalls of a generation of indie kids with a sardonic wit and a shambling musical style where Stephin Merritt lies down with The Vaselines. They're at their best on Big Blue Moon, Katie Pope's voice soaring above bathos like the stars coming out over Sauciehall Street." Uncut [6/10]
"it’s a refined downer, enriched by self-lacerating wit (I Only Smoke When I Drink), indie-boy piss-takes (Sleeperbloke), story-song skills (unwanted-pregnancy tale Johnny (Have You Come Lately)) and briefly off-guard touches of synth-pop wistfulness (Big Blue Moon). Best of all is Spector-on-a-budget shimmy No Longer Young Enough, a wise-up call for middle-aged dreamers with just one caveat: the Joans’ own cynicism has improved with age. But don’t tell them, or they might go cheering up." Record Collector [4/5]
"You Might be Smiling Now… is a sharper, on-the-nose take on indie pop, proving the Just Joans may be older, but, in their own whimsically nostalgic way, perhaps no wiser, and for that we can only be glad." The List [4/5]
"You Might Be Smiling Now... is lyrically smart, funny, and terrifyingly relatable. The Just Joans might not be universally understood, but for those of us dealing with the grievances of getting older while simultaneously not feeling ready for adulthood, this is our affirmation." The Skinny [4/5]
"The similarities with Belle & Sebastian and Camera Obscura in procuring breezy pop melodies combined with intelligent wordplay exist, but on their second album The Just Joans draw more similarities to the American counterpart of all of the above [Leonard Cohen] - Stephen Merritt and his band The Magnetic Fields." Soundblab [8/10]
"They’ve dredged up their youthful feelings and animated them in both honest and affectionate tones, and it makes You Might Be Smiling Now… a joyous rummage through swathes of bleary nostalgia." The 405 [8/10]
"Their latest record continues their tradition of smart, cynical and relatable sing-alongs, but injects some musical playfulness that’s been missing until now." Music OMH
"The Just Joans new album You Might Be Smiling Now... is funny, poignant, sometimes sad look back into the bands memories. And its rather lovely." Backseat Mafia [8.2/10]
"a charming slice of downbeat indie pop, inhabiting a similar musical world to their label-mates The Hayman Kupa Band and Belle and Sebastian." Morning Star
"The Just Joans are kind of like the Krankies set to indie-pop. They peddle sweet melodies that make the BMX Bandits sound like Slayer and sing on top of them with Scottish accents as thick as a porridge on a winter's morning. But if their winsomeness is sometimes set to 'grate' then their saving grace is a clutch of lovely songs that recall the timeless miniature pop of the likes of the Magnetic Fields. The standout is 'Steal the Keys (1996 Tears)' a future indie-pop classic in which it occurs to me that the Scottish pronunciation of 'six' sounds a little like 'sex' making the closing chorus contains sound like '1990's sex tears' which pretty much sums up my '90s. It's not an anomaly though - there are other treasures here - 'A Matter of Time' in particular is near perfect electronic indie with a chorus so catchy that I've just emerged from the clinic for treatment." Norman Records [7/10]
"You Might Be Smiling Now… is a deliciously twisted treat from start to finish. The Just Joans are a perfect Glasgow kiss not to be missed." Highway Queens