Booze at Neptune's Dawn (Joyside) (China Release)

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Cover

General Information

Artist: Joyside
Title: 海王星黎明的酒宴 (hǎiwángxīng límíng de jiǔyàn) / Booze at Neptune's Dawn
Release Date: 2007, September 8
Label: Maybe Mars Records
Type: CDDA
Catalog No.: Maybe 1.1
Language: English


Track Listing

  1. Spy
  2. All Night
  3. Neptune's Child
  4. Out of Time
  5. Too Fast to Love
  6. Dong Dong Dong
  7. Lover D
  8. Baby in Shadow
  9. Booze at Dawn
  10. Fire


Reviews

  • (c) that's Beijing Magazine Online, Berwin Song, November 21, 2007

Booze at Neptune’s Dawn may be Joyside’s third studio album, but it’s a first for plenty of other things. As it’s numbered Maybe 1.1, it’s technically the first release from Maybe Mars, the musician-run local indie label. It was also the band’s international debut, released earlier this year in Europe (also, coincidentally, the debut release for Fly Fast Records as well, a label designed to release Asian music to Europe) during their tour of Germany, which ended triumphantly with a gig in London.

Of course, it’s certainly not the first Joyside album under a banner of booze, and whether or not you’re tired of their alcohol-themed shtick, it’s clear the band is sticking with the tried-and-true. For one thing, frontman Bian Yuan is looking increasingly, and extraordinarily, sloshy these days, and his recorded performance is equally slurry. Is he always messed up? Who knows, and who cares – his rock and roller persona is the stuff of yaogun legend, despite the fact that his voice isn’t nearly as strong or proficient as his idols (like the New York Dolls’ David Johansson, who provided some personal lessons at an intimate D-22 gig in September). Still, the album offers some finely-written, though basic, melodies, following the formula of simplicity and catchiness. Note the one-line sing-along chorus (Out of Time: “Baby, baby, baby, you’re out of time”; or the two-word lyric of Spy: “She spies”), or the two-chord structures in, well, most of their tracks (though guitarist Xiao Hong keeps things interesting with plenty of surf-styled tremolo and major-chord fills). Their best album yet.

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  • (c) City Weekend, Jenn Wong, November 15, 2007

A small but enthusiastic crowd has assembled at the newly re-opened and fantastically refurbished Yugong Yishan in Beijing for the launch of the new Joyside CD. Disco balls hang above the stage and glittering strands of tinsel sway beneath bright lights: It’s a high school dance after-party with a whole lot of spiked punch. Feedback blares from the speakers and empty glasses and beer bottles hurtle through the air—nearly taking out the band—leaving shimmering shards of glass on the stage. Chinese punks and the odd foreigner slam into each other in a furious celebration of alcohol and rock ‘n’ roll while the boys of Joyside carry on with their set. Lead singer Bian Yuan, China’s answer to Jim Morrison, staggers and leers, oblivious to the destruction around him.

Since forming in 2001, Joyside has turned this riotous bad boy act into one of the mainland's more successful punk ‘n’ roll franchises. They’ve released five albums, toured Western Europe, have been featured in two documentaries and have drunk more beer than any other band in town. Their newest release, Booze at Neptune’s Dawn, is a departure from the beer-soaked, completely out-of-control on-stage reputation they have cultivated over the past six years. Instead, it presents a much more disciplined, hopeful and exciting display of who the foursome really is. Despite clocking in at just over 40 minutes, the album’s 10 tracks propel listeners forward with an intensity and focus unseen in most of the band’s local performances. The vocals are cleaner and the end product polished and tight as Bian Yuan’s leather-clad ass.

Michael Pettis, whose newly founded Maybe Mars record label released the Joyside album (the same label responsible for the much anticipated Car-Sick Cars album and the debut album from Snapline), remembers meeting the band at the end of 2003. Upon opening D-22 last year, he immediately hired Joyside as a house band. “I remember thinking that not only were they playing great music, but that they also had the kind of genuine love of rock and roll music and the lifestyle that you rarely see any more,” Pettis says. “Even before you meet them it is pretty clear that there is no bullshit about any of them.” Pettis, known for being a tireless supporter of the Chinese rock scene, is unapologetic and unabashed about Joyside’s future, at one point even calling guitarist Xiao Hong “one of the most impressive young guitarists in China, maybe even the world.”

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