From the outset, it’s clear that Melbourne-forged Emcee Joel Ma, aka Joelisitics, has produced another thought provoking offering in the form of his second LP, Blue Volume. While reflective in nature, the album offers up a spectrum of styles, varying from slow rock duets to flavorsome hip hop productions, courtesy of a range of inspirations from 80s and 90s grunge, folk and modern urban flavors.
While clearly one of the lyricist’s more mature musical offerings, Blue Volume still provides glimmers of adolescent cheek, most notably in the catchy flow of ‘Say I’m Good’. Coupling with this early in the release, ‘In The Morning’ ties in one of the more rock flavored offerings, one of the hallmarks of the intertwined hip-hop and alternative rock influences.
The shining star in Joel’s songwriting is his ability to provide an emotive, easily conveyed message within his lyrics. The clever storytelling and verse construction of his musical poetry allows for an honest insight into the Emcees themes.
Partnering with Wil Wagner (The Smith Street Band) for ‘Nostromo’, the album reaches one of its most stripped back moments emotionally. The track is undoubtedly one of the most solemn and vulnerable offerings, conveying a chaotic personal battle, evident in both Joel and Wil’s personal accounts.
Counteracting some of the darker moments of the album, light shines through tracks ‘Out Of The Blue’ and ‘Easy Go’, with the help of Kaity Dunstan and Madeline Page respectively. While not as confronting in their nature, the tracks do provide a good backdrop to its more powerful predecessors.
Having handled the majority of the production on his lonesome, the release is still cohesive amidst the range of musical influences in the track list. Amongst the chaos that preluded the second LP, the storytelling of one of Melbourne’s most socially aware artists has flourished to new heights, offering a spectrum of heartfelt musical accounts.