Foy Vance – Joy Of Nothing

written by: September 7, 2013
Album-art-for-Joy-of-Nothing-by-Foy-Vance Release Date: August 27, 2013


Foy Vance’s second album, Joy Of Nothing, is quite mature; it sounds like the release of a seasoned musician.

His poetic songwriting is what stands out the most, accented by his unique voice. Joy Of Nothing is Vance’s debut album after releasing several EPs and single tracks since 2006. It features high-profile appearances from Ed Sheeran and Bonnie Raitt on two beautiful tracks, but even when Vance is working on his own, he creates an album full of emotional and sentimental songs.

All of the tracks pick up in one way or another instrumentally, such as on the title track, “Joy Of Nothing.” It starts simply with minimal guitar and drums, but ultimately includes strings and ambient echoes.

The strings on “Regarding Your Lover” enhance the track, and contrast wonderfully with Vance’s voice, while the drums and guitar create a powerful backdrop. The instrumentation is gorgeous, but it’s never is the focal point of the track. The vocals tend to come front and center.

Vance does have the perfect type of voice for his style of songwriting and instrumentation. His tracks are beautiful and he sings with a tenderness that pulls at one’s heartstrings as he strums his guitar.

While his voice has a rough edge, it fits both the airy melodic sentiments and the powerful, punchy folk present on Joy of Nothing.

The strings and guitar make “You and I” with Bonnie Raitt sound delicate, but the two singers’ vocal harmonies are lovely and powerful. The songwriting is simple, as well; Raitt and Vance repeat, “But you and I we are hard as stone,” with intermittent moments of Vance singing alone. It is perhaps one of the less intricately written tracks on Joy Of Nothing, but it sounds appropriate.

Simplicity is key for Foy Vance. “Feel For Me” is a gorgeous, soulful track that shows how far his basic songwriting can go. It is simply written, with, “Feel for me babe/Feel for me baby/I’m on fire babe/I’m on fire baby” repeated as the main lyrics. Even though the song is perhaps too simple, it is beautifully sung and nowhere near boring.

Though the minimalistic approach often works well on Joy of Nothing, it’s a bit disappointing.

Even though there is a solid distinction between tracks, they blend together in a way that makes the album a sort of sentimental blob.

Vance employs similar songwriting, singing, and composition styles on each track, and never breaks his own formula. He had numerous opportunities to throw a curveball into the album’s flow, yet he played it safe the entire time.

The most interesting parts of Joy Of Nothing come in the first few tracks. The opening song, “Closed Hand, Full of Friends,” has the most interesting lyrics on the whole album: “Yeah, well, I was alright but I was dead in the water/Could see it slide, I couldn’t kneel in its altar/All I wanted was a turn right down to the promising/Through this fleeting culture/And hide away from wolves and the vultures.”

“Guiding Light” brings Joy Of Nothing to a close. As the track slowly fades out, it sounds as though the album drifted away.

Foy Vance’s first full-length album is definitely a strong release. While he could, and probably should, experiment further in the future, it is clear that he has established a beautiful sound for himself.

Foy Vance – Joy Of Nothing tracklist:

  1. “Closed Hand, Full Of Friends “
  2. “Joy Of Nothing”
  3. “At Least My Heart Was Open”
  4. “You And I (feat. Bonnie Raitt)”
  5. “Feel For Me”
  6. “Janey”
  7. “Paper Prince”
  8. “It Was Good”
  9. “Regarding Your Lover”
  10. “Guiding Light (feat. Ed Sheeran)”