Release Date: 23rd of February, 2018
TL;DR: There’s a few great tracks on this record. However, that’s all we really get. There isn’t a great deal of variation or experimenting amongst the tracks, and the songs that are a bit different than the one before it, are essentially the same song as something else in the list.
‘Nation of Two‘ is the sophomore album from Australian indie-folk artist, Vance Joy. Backing up a long run of five singles and finally following up his debut album from 2014: ‘Dream Your Life Away‘.
Album opener Call If You Need Me features some nice melody mimicking with the guitar which I quite liked. Unfortunately, this is the only thing that really stood out to me during this track. Lay It On Me, We’re Going Home and Saturday Sun continue the run of this album’s single stretch. Lay It On Me (video below) is definitely the album’s best and most ambitious track. The big instrumentals combined with the resonating vocal melodies make for a nice, feel good, mix – even if lyrical content doesn’t reflect this same emotion. The following two singles feature some basic instrumentals with some bold vocal melodies.
Take Your Time mellows out just a little bit, with some noticeably more expressive vocals. I’m With You is another calm, emotional track but ultimately no real stand out here. Like Gold – the final single within the tracklisting – offers more big, varied instrumentals and lovely harmonies. Check out this live version below.
Crashing Into You provides much more melancholy in comparison to the other tracks and opens up a much more heartfelt aspect to the record with tracks like Little Boy and Bonnie & Clyde.
Besides the fact that most of these tracks sound identical. One of the main qualities that ties the album together is the clear link in the lyrical themes as Vance Joy explained himself:
Nation of Two describes a perfectly self-contained couple; their world beginning and ending at the bed they share, the car they ride in, or any other place where they’re together… the idea that their love for each other gives them their bearings; a point of reference that makes sense of life. (source)
Ultimately, the better tracks on this album are ambitious and bold, but they are all very similar. The alternate cuts on the record don’t bring much to the table and it doesn’t feel like there is much variation throughout. The vocal performances are unsurprisingly good, but as an entire project it’s very much of the same.