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Yorokobi's Mantra


In their home country of Belgium and neighboring France, Joy Wellboy have enjoyed cult status for some time -- although they have not released a great number of records up to now. However, there can be no doubt that their big break has arrived, as Joy Wellboy's debut album Yorokobi's Mantra is certainly one of the contenders for the highlight of 2013. What makes this amiable duo from Brussels so special? One factor is undoubtedly the fact that Joy Adegoke and Wim Janssens are romantically as well as musically attached. Completely different yet entirely compatible, the two characters and their individual musical expression combine in perfect symbiosis: Joy's boundless creativity and sure-fire sense of a catchy melody are channeled by Wim, who effortlessly forms them into flawless arrangements and memorable tracks with a unique sound. If, after the celebrated single "Flush Me," you're expecting the duo to focus exclusively on the realm of slick electro-pop, you'll be pleasantly surprised that Joy Wellboy's range extends considerably further. Yorokobi's Mantra is a grand pop spectacle in the most positive sense. In its thematic exploration of life's highs and lows, Joy Wellboy's debut album sounds both cool and emotional, powerful and energy-laden, extremely accessible but never pandering to expectations. Each of the 12 songs develops an atmosphere of disarming beauty in the space left between Joy's vocals and Wim's electronic textures. Happy-go-lucky pop songs like "I Can Handle" and "What Baby" are just as convincing as the haunting duet "Lay Down." The tracks range from the meticulously arranged, full-on electronica trip "On the Beach" to the wonderfully intimate vocal and piano ballad "Rain Drop Races." Beautiful, no-frills synth-pop songs like "Caress" already whet the appetite for single and remix releases. Yet Yorokobi's Mantra sounds entirely coherent as an album -- a bold and mature debut, and definitely the start of an exciting and successful future for Joy Wellboy.