Cloudy EP by Joan

By: Brenna Mata

This Arkansas duo has perfected yet another EP release with ‘cloudy.’ Comprised of lead vocalist Alan Benjamin and drummer Steven Rutherford, joan has a sound that is filled with 80s pop nostalgia with a twist of modern indie. Amidst trying times in the world today, the ‘cloudy’ EP will surely help your mind escape into a world of being in love. 

In a recent tweet, the band describe their new record as “an eo about seasons. created in the fall, introduced live in the winter, finished in the spring, released in the summer. we created ‘cloudy’ to tell the story of one relationship and the fact that love can be messy but so beautiful.”

As for the name of the EP, well it was all thanks to having to spend time in quarantine. Alan and Steven would take daily walks in the evening and text each other pictures of the sky. They note that “it felt like the name for the ep had fallen in our laps after talking about it one day. clouds can create a beautiful or terrifying scene, they can bring refreshing rain or a destructive storm. when you see clouds, it’s probably not great at the moment, but it will get better.” 

Things certainly do get better, especially with the first track off the record ‘try again.’ The baseline is suspenseful as it follows along with intense lyrics like “You’ve really cut me deep, but I’ve got a feeling we could work it if we try again.” It’s catchy for all right reasons, perhaps because it embodies the same energy of a 2000s boyband hit, and who can deny the pop power of that?! 

A side note for those who may not know, I actually had the pleasure to see joan back in March on their first ever headline tour. You can check out the photos and review HERE. They were actually the last concert I saw before covid-19 cancelled tours for the rest of the year. Despite no shows for over five months now, I can say that joan put on a memorable show. Not only did they perform songs from their first EP ‘portra’ but they also played songs from ‘cloudy’ that were unreleased at the time! A stand out song that I couldn’t stop grooving to was ‘want u back.’

Steven gets to really show off his talent on the drums in ‘want u back’ because the rhythm is upbeat and the drum combinations take all the credit. The music video is also quite the treat, as we get to see both musicians play the electric guitar, keyboard and bass! Check out the 80s-esque bop below!

This wouldn’t be a joan record without a sweet love ballad like ‘magnetic’, which explores the concept of having a love so strong that even from thousands of miles away, you’re still connected to that special someone. In the band’s case though, they likely are referring to the fact that they tour all over the world and yet that one person still occupies your thoughts. When the chorus drops in, you immediately feel the emotion in Alan’s vocals. This is the type of song that you’d blare through a boombox while standing outside someone’s house. 

The perfect movie moment vibes don’t stop there though. Track four titled ‘cover girl’ instantly takes you back in time. Its reminiscing lyrics feel as though it could easily fit into a 2000s teen rom-com, something like A Cinderella Story. Take a listen and you’ll picture the same.

No others could produce or replicate a song like ‘love me better’ which was the first released single from the ‘cloudy’ EP. The 80s synths are a joan signature and Alan’s vocals compliment the sounds effortlessly. You also can’t help but get up on your feet and dance wherever you are and recite the lyrics from beginning to end! The track also recently surpassed 1 million plays on Spotify, so I am confident that others would agree. 

Six tracks in and we’ve already reached the last song. I’m sad that ‘cloudy’ was such a quick journey, but nonetheless a beautifully executed one. What makes the journey even more bittersweet is that we end the EP with ‘brokenhearted’, about a long-term relationship gone awry. Maybe I’m on the verge of crying while listening, maybe I’m not (I definitely am). 

But hey, the ‘cloudy’ EP was packed with a wide range of emotions and that perfectly describes life and love. Continued from their recent tweet, the EP is about “getting better, growth, loving harder, and learning from mistakes.” Well, joan, y’all did just that.