Joanie Wolkoff, Tornto native and current Brooklyn transplant, is quite a prolific multimedia artist. She’s released albums under other names, writes for a popular Scottish music blog and is a visual artist who has designed her own cover art. Her new album, Without Shame is a return to form, if form with regard to Wolkoff can be defined. The Album released on April 15 and combines folk, pop and electronica in a way that only Wolkoff can.
Without Shame opens with “While You Still Can,” a pop-infused dance track with an Asian motif, courtesy of a unique stringed oversample. Wolkoff’s vocals are a little more wispy than usual, but the match the bubblegum pop melody and beat. “The Homecoming” follows “While You Still Can” and is quite different from the album opener. A syncopated beat with heavy bass characterizes this track, and it is much more indie than “While You Still Can.” “The Homecoming” also has a complimentary video, written, directed and produced by filmmakers Era Ora and Ivana Gloria. The video punches up the weird factor to Wolkoff’s music and defies description (video below).
The rest of Without Shame toggles between dance pop and folk. “The Rules You Know” seems similar to “While You Still Can” while “Fur Rabbits” has some experimental synth elements and will remind some listeners of Regina Spektor. “Legends and Pariahs” has a dance beat but a lot of interlude with no beat where Wolkoff’s unique voice can be fully featured. “Feels Like” ends the album with a slower, syncopated beat in which the musical melody is a little more sparse than other tracks, but Wolkoff’s lyrics dig deeper and thus the song produces less pop appeal than the rest. It is an interesting way to close the album, and a nice period to put on the end of the Without Shame sentence.
Wolkoff’s bubblegum take on indie pop in Without Shame is refreshing in a climate of heavy electronica, and is even light for Wolkoff herself. More space between notes and beats gives the listener pause for thought, and these song structures should lend themselves to more art-heavy video collaborations. Without Shame can be streamed in its entirety on Wolkoff’s Soundcloud page.
Written by Layla Marino
Blog: (Dropping) Weird Science