Vance Joy: God Loves You When You’re Dancing

vanceVance Joy
God Loves You When You’re Dancing
(Liberation Music)

Folk is doing well in the charts these last few years, bringing talents from far afield into the limelight. For anyone looking for something new from across the pond, look no further than Vance Joy. Vance has been supporting Lissie on her US tour, and I’ll admit that when he was announced as support, I thought he was Foy Vance. Fortunately, discovering this Vance (real name James Keogh) was no disappointment.

Keogh has an eye for detail, creating a sort of storytelling that distinguishes the best sort of folk. On “Emmylou” he reassures a lover to come to bed by inviting her to wear her socks to bed. This leads into “Riptide,” which is a much more up-tempo, ukulele-driven ditty where he appeals to a girl to let him be her “left-hand man.”

“Play with Fire” continues with the ukulele, but has a more heartbroken quality. When he sings, “You say you’re sometimes sentimental/Well, that ain’t showing through to me,” it’s a painfully simple way of comparing his vulnerability to someone much colder. As the song builds with horns, he repeats the chorus with increased, almost angry intensity, like the final words of a long fight. “Snaggletooth” is a tender tune reassuring a hurt woman that he adores her flaws, including the aforementioned snaggletooth as well as pigeon toes. This contrasts well with the final track, the plaintive “From Afar,” in which Keogh describes why it “shouldn’t comes as a surprise” that he’s fallen for someone unattainable.

Right now the EP is only available through vancejoy.com, but this upcoming Aussie talent has signed to Atlantic Records here in the States, so expect big things.

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About Casey Hicks

Casey Hicks toils her daylight hours away in an office high above Manhattan in order to afford nights of passionately scribbling. The first song she remembers ever hearing is "Lola" by the Kinks. She thinks this explains a lot.
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