Kicking off my 2017 to a rocking start, I’ve got the debut release ‘Ride Of Your Life’ by JOANovARC up for review. It’s just the heavy treat I need to send the negativity of 2016 packing.
JOANovARC were my favourite new band discovery of 2016; I first came across them when my band played an opening slot for them at Bassment – Chelmsford in December. From watching their set-up and soundcheck I was blown away with their professionalism and how instantly addictive their music is. It was a privilege to share the stage with them, and witness first hand what a polished and talented band they are.
Kicking off with title track ‘Ride Of Your Life’ you are instantly thrown into the fast paced rock ‘n’ roll world of JOANovARC. One of the many defining features of JOANovARC is the vocal melodies. Not only does lead vocalist/bassist Sam Walker have an incredible voice, but when combined with backing vocals from her sister and lead guitarist Shelley Walker and rhythm guitarist Laura Ozholl it creates the perfect vocal harmony, which translates even more powerfully live.
Track 2 ‘ Dragon in the Sky’ was instantly a favourite of mine, kicking off with a killer bassline hook, and an equally catchy chorus, this track really captures the essence of what I love about JOANovARC. I found myself singing this track the whole drive back home after the show. Leading into ‘White Trash’ another fantastic live track written about their time playing shows in America. Keeping true to the sound of JOANovARC but changing it up a little next is ‘Seeds of Summer’ another track that really highlights the vocal range of Sam Walker.
‘Live Rock ‘n’ Roll’ is a track that is the very essence of all that is JOANovARC. If you haven’t heard of them yet, I suggest you start at this track for a taste of what to expect. To me this is everything an amazing rock song should be; leading in with Deborah Wildish on drums, this track is an onslaught of dirty guitar riffs, vocal hooks that you will have stuck with you permanently and an absolutely blistering guitar solo from Shelley Walker, this track cements in my thoughts that JOANovARC are the best female 4 piece rock band out there now, and they have worked hard to get there.
Stepping back slightly on the pace are ‘Going Down’ and ‘Running Away’, which gives a great varience, but doesn’t lose any of the power of the faster paced tracks, again it just highlights for me how strong this band is vocally. Another favourite of mine towards the end of the album is ‘Work’ again being a bassist, I can’t help but get hooked on the bassline in this song, another brilliant feel-good song
Whilst there is a degree of nostalgia with there being a similar feel to the old-school female rock bands, JOANovARC have built on that legacy and evolved the sound into something new and exciting. What I love about ‘Ride Of Your Life’ is there is no ‘filler’ tracks. Every track whilst being diverse is true to the sound of JOANovARC, live and on recording, I am so impressed at the musicianship of these ladies; I very much suggest that they are one to watch out for in 2017. It was hard to pick a favourite track on such a strong album, but it has to be ‘Dragon in the Sky’ Top marks from me, and I can’t wait to see them live again as soon as possible!
Sam Walker – Lead Vocals / Bass
Shelley Walker- Lead Guitar / Backing Vocals
Laura Ozholl- Rhythm Guitar / Vocals
Debbie Wildish – Drums