With his third album as Peel Dream Magazine, Joseph Stevens beckons you toward a fabulist, zig-zag world entirely of his own design. On ‘Pad’, he eschews the fuzzy glories of his indie pop past – vibraphone trembles while chamber strings take centre stage. The curtains lift to reveal banjo. Chimes. Farfisa. And as he lets out a moan atop the album’s title track, it becomes clear that this is no ordinary performance. A conceptual work about losing oneself when all they have is themself, ‘Pad’ gestures towards an exciting new future for Stevens’ pop moniker by reimagining its own very existence.
The follow-up to 2020’s breakthrough album ‘Agitprop Alterna’, ‘Pad’ presents a major sonic evolution for the 34 year old songwriter, who moved to Los Angeles amid the cataclysm that same year. Seventies era drum machines and synthesizers remain here, but he’s traded his buzzing offset guitar for a nylon-string, opting for a gentle baroque pop sound steeped in Bossa, folk, and its own eerie mysticism. Alongside mid century touchstones like Burt Bacharach, Stevens draws on the cultishly-beloved tinkerings of late-1960s Beach Boys, offering a surreal melange of vintage organs and found percussion, as well as Harry Nilsson’s 1970 song tapestry ‘The Point!’.
The DInked Edition of ‘Pad’ is limited to 400 hand-numbered copies, presented on ‘wellness’ green vinyl with a bonus 4 track 7″ and fold-out poster