Live Review: JOY. – Goodgod Small Club, Sydney (20.11.15)

A little while ago, with the release of single “About Us” and the subsequent ODE EP, it became clear that JOY. – the project of 18 year old Brisbane native Olivia McCarthy – was an outrageous talent. Crisp, spacious production with deeply embedded pop hooks, surrounding McCarthy’s lilting vocals – toeing the line between being a sound that’s very much of the zeitgeist, but also very much singular and futuristic. For an artist of 18, it’s an exciting prospect.

And tonight, in the packed surrounds of the Goodgod, she impressed. Aided by a live drummer and a multi-instrumentalist, the intricate layers that make up her songs were brought to life almost completely faithfully – save for a couple of mixing issues. “Crazy For You” crackled as the opener, McCarthy’s vocals swirling within the heavy instrumentation. She layered on even more reverb for the shimmering “Falling”, before trying her hand at a squelchy electro cover of Rihanna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money”. Strong elements of dancehall and house also crept in with the thumping “Tough Shit”. It can’t top the simple elegance of “About Us”, which comes right at the end, before a surprising and hastily thrown together encore of Drake’s “Marvin’s Room”.

She’s a warm presence on stage, if slightly unsure at times, which is something that will no doubt fade with experience and age. But for an artist to garner this much attention with only a few songs released, one gets the feeling that JOY. is on the precipice of something truly excellent.

<I>Photo by Littlek Photography</I>

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