Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Coach Party find a pop-metal sweet spot on debut outing Killjoy


Release date: 08 September 2023
Coach Party Killjoy cover
08 September 2023, 08:00 Written by Joshua Mills

Proving there’s something in the water down there, Coach Party are the latest band to come roaring off the Isle of Wight with a fully formed, impactful album.

Hot on the heels of three increasingly confident EPs, the band’s first full-length swaps the insular indie for a glossy, layered effort.

Killjoy’s production is pristine, and while we all like a bit of characterful fuzz, here the decision is for the best. One of the album’s key strengths is the incessant, casually deployed guitar heroics. “July” is bolstered by riff after glam-metal riff chucked in the middle of the mix, while “Be That Girl” is backgrounded by an extended solo. The heavy work of guitarists Steph Norris and Joe Perry could turn to mush in less capable hands, but drummer/producer Guy Page gets the balance spot on.

The dynamics of the record aren’t enormously varied, but Coach Party try on a few styles, from the punky “Parasite” to the bubblegrunge of “Born Leader”. Page has spoken of his desire to create “music that people can mosh to”; provided they can maintain the record’s energy throughout their bustling touring schedule, Killjoy’s songs should deliver that no problem. Vocalist and bassist Jess Eastward is an adaptive presence, buoyant, weary, and angry as the song requires.

The record suffers from an occasional lyrical lapse into generality. “Hi Baby” rhymes the latter word with “maybe”; elsewhere Eastward declares that she’s “back on my bullshit”. At times, the rougher edges of weirdo debut single “Oh Lola” would have been a welcome addition; the welcoming reach to a wider audience can go a little too far.

The album concludes, though, with its emotional and lyrical high point, “Always Been You”. A beautifully reserved break-up song, it’s replete with brilliant and specific observations. Eastward sings to the subject that she “fell in love with all your family,” later describing “driving out of / our town, but it’s just mine now”. Over thumping drums and one of the record’s most prominent guitar licks, these lines evoke the sense of loss in a crumbling relationship far beyond the actual, physical person.

Coach Party give themselves nowhere to hide in the sheen of Killjoy. It’s big, brash, and crystal clear, but open-hearted and often evocative, too. At its best, the blown-up production and direct performances produce real stardust.

Share article

Get the Best Fit take on the week in music direct to your inbox every Friday

Read next