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

Joesef’s odes to heartbreak are anything but painful on his debut album Permanent Damage

"Permanent Damage"

Release date: 13 January 2023
Joesef Permanent Damage Artwork
10 January 2023, 12:30 Written by Izzy Sigston

The Glaswegian singer-songwriter offers a mesmerising journey into his musical scrapbook, continuing to welcome the permanence of heartbreak and the shaping of the man that comes alongside it.

It all started with a pack of cigarettes. With the words ‘Smoking causes permanent damage’ striking a chord, the concept of Permanent Damage was born. Coining it “another word for change,” Joesef’s debut is loaded with just about every definition of the word soul; complete with supersonic musical arrangements tied together with intimate nostalgia that is still somehow universally relatable.

Sparking the album alight, title track “Permanent Damage” immediately sets the bar ludicrously high for the remainder of the album. Composed simply from a score that delicately beckons the Scotsman’s angelic falsetto vocals, it’s a creation that becomes the perfect set up for what’s yet to come. Unlike previous EP’s and singles which sat comfortably with low-swung guitar hooks and head-nodding production, the record takes the brave step into the unknown, with new entrances from orchestral sections and cinematic valiance. The rose-tinted “Apartment 22” is no exception, abundant with heaven-sent strings and charming horn sections, the track even contains the dulcet tones of Elbow front-man Guy Garvey, featuring in the harmonious chorus.

The heart of the record emerges in a vulnerable triplet, all embodied glassy eyed intimacy. The coming-of-age ringer “East End Coast” is gooey with nostalgia of a past relationship, complete with the addictive chorus stating, “We don’t need to have it all / That doesn’t matter to me.” Next comes “Just Come Home With Me Tonight,” a spine tingling final mourning of an ex, but nothing hits harder than the fragility situated in “Borderline.” “I’m not angry / I’m just disappointed” – Joesef’s noticeably broken yet more compelling than ever, as he continues to tell the story of a ‘right person, wrong time’ situation, set against nothing but atmospheric acoustics.

Not letting his self-proclaimed title of a sadboy slip, the record continues to delve into the varying emotions that come along with love. The reverse of heartbreak comes in the red hot cuban-jazz inspired “Didn’t Know How To Love You,” whilst the complication of a queer love affair is laid bare in the outrageously addictive “It’s Been A Little Heavy Lately,” that hears Joesef crooning “‘Cause when you kiss her you know something’s missing / You know that it feels different with me.”

With no fillers in sight, Joesef’s musical talent is consistently reinforced with versatility that never sounds out of place. The undoubtable pop flame on Permanent Damage is awarded to “Moment,” a ludicrous contrast against the haunting “Blue Car,” a Bond theme-esque track built layer upon layer of cinematic glory.

An irony comes alongside this record, in spite of having a somewhat concept element to it in the form of heartbreak, you can’t help but step away from the album without feeling totally lovestruck.

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