Words by Matthew Bond
Having been made aware of Joshua Zero’s debut release back in March of last year, the cinematic and expressive Barbed Wire Eyelashes could have easily been sat alongside the track listing from God’s Favourite Customer and I doubt I would’ve batted an eyelid. That’s why new single Yellow Teeth Red Skin is such a shock to the senses. Yes, it maintains its ability to be genuinely emotive and melodic, but this new post-punk influenced, politically charged Joshua Zero evokes a similar atmosphere found on Wolf Alice’s My Love is Cool.
There’s a rawness and honesty about Joshua Zero’s new track that really sticks with me; a DIY battling punk attitude that compliments the delicate and tactile moments on this release. Lo-fi drums battle through reverberating guitars, strings swell and fade throughout, and distinct vocals tread a journey of apathy towards society in general in a way that feels appropriate. Lyrical poignance here comes in a vocal delivery that doesn’t necessarily shout and scream about the failures around us, but instead raises them out from the fog and lets them hang there for the listener to process and react to on their own.
Structurally this song intrigues me, and after my first listen I wasn’t exactly sure what to make of it as a whole. I’d expect it to turn one way, then it would turn the other. I’d expect it to make a U-turn back the way it came and instead it would grind to a halt to allow a flourish of guitars and vocals to hold centre stage on their own. Yellow Teeth Red Skin really has caught me off guard, and I think that’s exactly why I’m such a fan. It isn’t what I expected, but it still sounds very much like a Joshua Zero release, and that’s exciting.
Seeing a band be able to develop their sound within the niche they have carved out for themselves is impressive and so desperately needed, and with Joshua Zero this new single has done exactly that.