Joseph Black, from New Jersey, was brought to my attention through Harry Cubberly from Treatment since they share the same label Rumore Bianco. Both Harry and Joseph seem to be sharing a great love for 80’s music and try to put down a kind of glossy, contemporary version of it. Cubberly seems to be mainly influenced by the sophistipop pur sang genre, whereas Black (not the “Wonderful Life“guy) seems to be inspired predominantly by the sound of late 80’s pop and verging slightly on soft-rock sounds (remember Cutting Crew, Mr. Mister, The Cars etc.) like the ones I personally prefer to forget, but remember oh-so-well. Luckily, it is all very cleverly packaged and does also bear influences from that era that I DO love, and it luckily comes without the hideous accompanying guitar solo’s.
The “Wildest Dreams” EP will be the first in a series of three limited edition 3-track cassette-singles planned for release over the winter of 2019 and spring of 2020. All 9 songs plus 3 new ones will be on an LP next year. EP opener “Wildest Dreams” pretty clearly entertains Prefab Sprout’s signature chord transitions and timings, contains traces of Dire Straits, but has those subdued, hazy vocals that are very popular amongst comtemporary dream/synth pop acts such as Washed Out and Brothertiger. “Some Passion“ hangs somewhere in between Bruce Springsteen‘s “I’m On Fire” and Small Black‘s “Limits of Desire” (no poetry intended). “Lonelier Than Heaven Knows” stays in a smilar vibe but is also heavily influenced by late 80’s acts like Deacon Blue and Cock Robin. This is definitely my favourite track of the EP and I do hope that in future we can expect more along these lines. All in all: a neat little EP! Enjoyed it.
Short bio: From 2010-2012, Joseph collaborated with a revolving cast of friends to make music under the monikers Honeydrum and Video Thrills. Working at a furious pace, they released over a dozen EPs in only two years, many on the seminal weirdo pop consortium AMDiscs. QROmag writer Jason Dean said of Honeydrum “it’s like listening to multiple AM radio stations playing different versions of lost Nik Kershaw demos are somehow syncing up in an old empty roller skating rink.” Shortly after disbanding, he became the principle songwriter for Donovan Blanc which released two full length albums on Captured Tracks ranging from quiet, introspective studies of melancholic late sixties singer/songwriter pop to effusive embraces of country and disco. Now, writing, recording, and producing music under his own name, Joseph has taken on the task of exploring pop as a study of life as it is, instead of merely a window into life imagined.