Joyful Joyful by Joyful Joyful
Church music transported to a different plain
Not quite a capela but like King Midas Sound's Solitude, the vocals on this debut album resonate long after each listen. Queer Canadian youth minister Cormac Culkeen is the owner of that voice and, with the clout of Sinead O'Connor, delivers a resounding 32 minute sermon in five parts, each track subtly backed by the understated electronics of Dave Grenon. Culkeen describes Joyful Joyful’s songs as:
a little bit outside of time
Which makes sense. Over a seven year exile from the church (due to their queerness) Culkeen clung to the pious aspects that resonated most while folding in personal experiences and beliefs to produce a form of expression that's quite different; not old, not new, not cutting-edge and not traditional yet somehow all of these things at once.
Crossing subject matter like pilgrims (Sebaldus) with sexuality in the modern church (Marrow) the voice as instrument, processed and treated in myriad ways, takes centre stage throughout, enchanting with a lyrical folklore. More than narration though, with a sense of performance, and echoes of traditional church choral music, a transcendent spirit prevails. The result is a massive, emotionally moving and memorable experience.