I guess, in a way, singer-songwriters performing their solo sets are a bit of an unknown factor, or at least just the tip of their own potential musical iceberg. When they perform in the raw, one guy/girl and guitar, I’m sure you are only ever getting the bare bones of the song that is actually in their head, the news in brief of what might be a breaking, epic story. That is what is great about Joe’s latest release, The Party We Came For, as after years of listening to and loving the one man band version of events, now I get to hear his music in all its wide-screen, panoramic glory.
There is an element of destiny about the route being pursued here whether Joe is aware of it or not, just look at the likes of Frank Turner for a probably over-used reference, a fellow traveller of sorts down the DIY folk-punk troubadour route from solo pub shows to anthemic, full band sound. But where as the ubiquitous Mr T. opts for a very transatlantic sonic language more New Jersey than New Cross, Joe’s sound has more of a Billy Bragg feel to things, more homespun and quintessentially English, especially in the albums more reflective moments.
As an album it offers a wonderful cross roads moment for our hero. Obviously solo shows are often the only cost effective way of making a living for many artists these days and the sofa surfing life made possible by kindness of strangers generally doesn’t extend to a van full of musicians and a stack of amps in the living room. But The Party We Came For does perhaps offer a taste of the future, the bigger sound that these songs obviously benefit from raise questions and a tantalising glimpse of a possible next chapter in the story of Joe McCorriston.