Analogue Music | Joseph - Trio Sessions Vol. 1
Joseph: Trio Sessions Vol. 1

Joseph: Trio Sessions Vol. 1

Artist: Joseph · Written by Matt Conner

Date Released

31 January, 2020


ATO Records

It's about what happens when you peel it all back.

The greatest testament to a song's strength, they say, is in the ability to strip back its layers and still hear a great song. Dial back the production, do away with the support structure, and see how well a track stands on its own.

What's so compelling about Joseph's new EP, The Trio Sessions: Vol. 1, is not how much it showcases the beauty of their compositions but the brilliance of its members.

On the heels of last year's Good Luck, Kid (my personal favorite album of '19), the sisters from the Pacific Northwest have released an EP of reworked (and largely stripped back) tracks from the ATO Records release. Acoustic outtakes or unplugged releases are nothing new, but forget any thoughts of this being a throwaway basket of b-sides. The girls in Joseph have spent considerable time and effort to rework these melodic gems into new constructs that give complete freedom for some of the vocal work you'll ever hear.

A single electric plugged into amp backs the opener "NYE" giving way to a sparser, lonelier feeling that actually matches the song's original sentiment much better than the studio's treatment of the same.

I don't really feel a whole year older now
I'm still shaking but I'm bolder now
I need you to hold me even closer now
I know we'll make it another year but I don't know how

"Good Luck, Kid" begins with a snapping sample that sounds like an a-ha backing that propels it faster than ever. Along with some electric guitar strums and backing yelps, the title track from last year's LP blossoms into a thrilling ride. "Fighter," meanwhile, takes the opposite approach and takes a closet approach to the stomach-punch of the opening track from Good Luck, Kid.

"Green Eyes," the track most like its studio version, is another highlight. As the song slowly finds its way forward, it mirrors the first take sans backing instrumentation but patience yields eventual entrance into an exhilarating cathedral of vocal work.

For a band already praised for their incredible harmonies, Joseph give "Without You" the full-on Thelma & Louise treatment in the studio here. Atop simple electric strums, the Closner sisters throw off any fears and go completely over the edge to startling effect. It's a fantastic turn that leaves the listener stunned.

The primary takeaway from The Trio Sessions: Vol. 1, at least for me, is wondering how a band could leave so much off the table for their studio effort. Good Luck, Kid was already a pop music masterclass, but somehow the girls' ceiling was even higher than they showed you. That's a questionable decision for the present to hold something back, but if you thought Joseph had released their magnum opus, it sounds like there are even better songs on the way—hard as it is to believe.