Venezuela-born singer and songwriter Joemayk, now residing in Madrid, released his album Drive Somewhere at the start of this month, and it’s a collection of enjoyably warm pop-rock crossover songs that arrive soaked in character and realness. One Hundred Miles is the opener and genuinely feels like a hit from a simpler time. The music has so much colour, the lightness of the beat brings a dash of the organic world to an otherwise rock-guitar driven soundscape. The doubled vocals add a sense of togetherness, giving the track an anthemic feel, and all the while you grow more and more comforted by the progressing melody and the leading artist’s heartfelt delivery of it.
Elsewhere on the project the guitar work really stands tall, solos come through with a unique style and tone to them – adding to that individuality but keeping the rock core alive and well. From a songwriting perspective, the concept of love is brought up pretty consistently – these songs seem to be reflections on life and relationships, all underlined by that album title; that need to drive and just think things through. The song Love is a beautiful example, a simple melody featuring short lines quickly leaves its mark in your mind, leading up towards a hook that essentially reminds you of the likes of Bryan Adams or Bon Jovi, though with a welcomed softness. The lyrics touch on the idea of being able to handle each other, an interesting and on point perspective that shows Joemayk to be a totally thoughtful writer who accesses those inner emotions and experiences in a way that is refreshing and genuine.
The title track adds a level of space and further highlights the skill Joemayk offers with regard to composition and melodic development. The melody here meanders in an unpredictable but satisfying way, giving it both freshness and familiarity. Friendly Ghost follows and changes the mood a fair bit, the chord progression is immediately intriguing, as are the vocal layers – the composition, as stated, has been considerately crafted. The quickness of the melody here introduces a new side to the artist, and helps make for what is undeniably an eclectic and endlessly entertaining collection.
You is a song that feeds off of the very essence of its title – it’s about a significant other, or ‘you’, and it addresses this in every line, showing a vocal vulnerability that really connects well. Again, Joemayk’s lyrics feel familiar but a little left of the usual, so it’s refreshing to listen to. The harmonica here is an added blessing.
Lovers Memories keeps the loving feelings alive and actually offers one of the most unique melodic progressions of the whole project. This one is easily worth a few listens, it’s a powerful song that brings together so many wonderful elements, in the end feeling like a missing hit from the Goo Goo Dolls, or the soundtrack to some new romantic movie. The personal touch is hugely valuable, Joemayk offers a true part of himself up through his songs, and that truth is what will draw an audience in.
Little Love lightens the mood again, the rhythm is mellow yet infectious and quite brilliant here. The vocal rhythm too fits that bass-line and sense of movement brilliantly. In a new twist of fate, I heard a little Alanis Morissette on this one, the heartfelt writing, not holding back, and the way the melody builds – a definite highlight from the album, easy going but memorable. After this, Stronger adds yet another brilliantly entertaining rhythm to the mix, different once more, but still in keeping with that now recognisable sound of Joemayk. The lyrics feel like a diary reading in some ways, drawing you closer still to the artist behind the music.
The Rain Is Cold In Summer offers the penultimate moment, a gentle song with a mighty melody – the verses finish up each section with a rising series of notes that really bring more and more emotion onto the scene. Then Through The Window marks the finish, a song with perhaps the best guitar riff and soundscape of the whole album. The intermittent beat or clap adds a touch of drama and weight, the vocals are arranged in a beautiful way, and again – there’s so much space on the track, so the lyrics and the emotional leading vocal really connect. A great way to finish and an impressive, immensely enjoyable album. Joemayk is a quality songwriter.