The footballer-turned-troubadour has had two number one albums in Australia and both albums cracked the Top 40 in the US and UK. He’s also won three ARIA Awards and his songs have been streamed more than five billion times. Yep, five billion. Some critics thought he’d struggle to rise above his first hit – Riptide was that good – but as he declares on his third album, “I plan on being ’round”.
There’s an intimacy to Vance Joy’s work – it’s as if you’re in the studio with him and he’s singing just for you. “When you’re this close,” he sings, “every touch is amplified.” But his songs are deceptively simple. In the hands of less competent craftsmen, some of this material could easily veer into blandness, but Joy always seems to have a trick up his sleeve – a key change or a surprising chorus – that sends your spirits soaring.
There are a couple of adventurous moments here, including some Indian instrumentation in Wavelength, a song that provides the album’s title (a phrase Joy repeats in the following track, Boardwalk). But Vance Joy is not really a boundary-pusher. This is timeless pop songwriting that sits comfortably alongside legends such as Paul Simon and Cat Stevens and modern greats such as Ed Sheeran and Dan Wilson (who co-writes This One, one of the many highlights here).
In Our Own Sweet Time by Vance Joy is out June 10 via Liberation.