This is an entry in an ongoing series for 303 Magazine, which will provide a range of local album reviews. It is our intention to highlight the talents of local musicians, whether veterans to the industry or newcomers. Like the bands, the album can be fresh or something we just haven’t had the power to take off repeat in the past few months. Check out previous entries in the series here.
Some call Denver the bass capital of the world, but perhaps a more apt label for the Mile High City is “the playground of electronic music.” Denver is birthing a new era of sound — one that is founded on a collective support for each artist and genre. Musicians are redefining the scene as a whole by blending all types of styles together, creating an inclusive arena for artists to play and create with one another. For Future Joy, this results in a melting pot of jazz, dubstep, glitch-hop and vaporwave influences, sprinkled collaborations with both local and national musicians.
The possibilities are limitless, and that’s something Future Joy proves in their debut self-titled album. A reflection of the Denver electronic scene today, Future Joy is a collaborative piece that pulls from many genres to create a sound that’s recognizable yet fresh. Iconic electronic music drops are met with some of the sexiest saxophone serenades your ears will ever hear. Just as you think the album favorite “Up All Night” is coming to an end, you’re hit with that saucy sax and the angelic chords of local old-school R&B artist Annabelle moaning “up all night.” The boys are on a serious mission to get people laid.
The duo — comprised of saxophonist and producer Zach Simms and drummer Fredric Park — is stepping on the scene with this powerful first release. “Future Joy” is sprinkled with sultry vocals from Denver’s own Annabelle and so much sexy sax that you’re bound to send a “you up?” text if you play this past midnight. Seriously — the album should come with a warning.
While this may be their first release, Simms and Park are no stranger to the scene. Simms is the saxophone player and vocalist for local funk-rock band MLIMA. Simms and Park have shared the stage with George Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelic, BoomBox, The Motet and other prominent musicians, which explains the maturity felt within their first album.
The skills of both musicians are showcased in the nine-song compilation, but the rawness of a newly formed band is still evident. Future Joy is still developing their signature sound, experimenting between the heavier electronic tracks like “Show Up” and Sabre Tooth Laser Whiskers” and the slower jazz-influenced songs “In the Morning” and “Clamber.” If you’re looking for the sweet spot between the heavy hitters and sexy saxophone serenades, check out “Up All Night.” This catchy single perfectly combines danceable beats with Annabelle’s smoldering vocals and includes a very saxual breakdown in the middle of this album favorite.
Future Joy’s album is a promising first piece of work that builds anticipation for what’s yet to come. Like the Denver electronic scene today, Future Joy represents the collaborative and genre-defying sound that’s redefining the music industry as a whole. As the band continues to refine their voice and grow into their own, we can only hope that sweet, sweet saxophone will continue to influence our late-night questionable decisions.