At first listen, Night of Joy, the debut album from former New Yorkers, now LA based, Songs for Sabotage, takes you back to the 1980’s and 1990’s and the sweet sounds of Swedish duo Roxette.  It’s not all that surprising then that one of the major influences on Richey Rose and Lina Sophie is Swedish pop of that period; in fact, it’s one of the things they first bonded over when they met in Brooklyn in 2017.  Releasing several singles to begin with, their seven strong album is now ready for the world, having been finished during lockdown in Richey’s hometown of Lexington, Kentucky.

Frenetic, pulsating, pared back when needed, all with tones of classic pop and rock, Night of Joy screams with the joy and frustration of city living and will hit home with anyone living in urban lockdown.  The duo say that the songs are “our version of melancholy New York; the empty subway ride at 3 am, feeling used by never-ending nightlife, or cursing someone’s name while being caught in a downpour with a shitty umbrella. Our attitudes have changed since then, but they were definitely captured on tape here.”

Although relatively short for an album, Night of Joy is packed full of great tunes right from the first note of the opening track, ‘Sabotage‘.  The alternative male / female vocals are where the band are most like Roxette and complement each other beautifully.  They also show a talent for pithy lyrics with

I tried to tell you but you’d gone deaf

encapsulating the minefield of human conversations.

The stand out track for me is ‘Fire’, a longer remix of one of the earlier released singles.  Lina’s voice soars magnificently over the melody and I enjoyed the pared back intro, showing excellent potential for a more eclectic output for future albums.  The strength of the lyric writing is kept up as well, with this gem:

I set myself on fire for you, there’s not a single thing you can do to convince me that I shouldn’t walk away

This sounds like a personal relationship ending but with the overall sound is just as likely to be about the love / hate relationship with New York City.

The desire for escape continues with ‘Drifting‘, another earlier release – the vocals drift over the pulsating beat, pulling against the tide of moving or staying.  Although written before lockdown, the line “spinning faster than your disaster” is an apt description of where we find ourselves as anything else I’ve heard. The penultimate track, ‘Dust‘, is a return to the classic pop rock sound of ‘Night of Joy’, before the album ends with a fabulous version of Peter Murphy’s ‘Cuts You Up‘.

As former NYC residents, Richey and Lina quote another famous former resident, Andy Warhol, with their advice for aspiring musicians:

“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”

Night of Joy is released on 25 September.

Catch a full album show on Instagram on Saturday 26th September.  If you can’t make it, follow Songs for Sabotage at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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