Russell Joslin’s fifth album, ‘O Veisalgia,’ is a sonic tapestry woven with threads of folk-rock, post-punk, and grunge, painting vivid portraits of modern life’s struggles and triumphs. Steeped in a grunge-infused guitar style akin to John Fahey mingling with The 13th Floor Elevators, Joslin’s vocals blend the weightiness of David Eugene Edwards with the impassioned abandon of Hamilton Leithauser.
In ‘O Veisalgia,’ Joslin takes the listener on a journey through themes of urban violence, digital disconnection, and the fragile ties that bind us in this rapidly evolving era. The title itself, Veisalgia, meaning the unpleasant after-effects of alcohol consumption, encapsulates the album’s exploration of everyday addiction and the complexities of modern existence. Joslin’s personal experiences, including battling grief, alcoholism, and burnout during the 2020 lockdown, infuse the project with urgency and depth. The loss of his father in the same year propelled Joslin to approach songwriting with newfound care and a sense of liberating abandon. Love is scrutinized with self-awareness, London’s commotion observed from a taxi’s backseat, and political ideas presented as personal reflections rather than dogmatic sermons.
Sonically, ‘O Veisalgia’ yearns for the simplicity of a pre-pandemic world, rejecting the pigeonholing of Joslin as solely a folk artist. Recorded in London’s Hackney Wick, the album boasts fuzzy guitars, glitchy synths, and vintage drum machines, all captured on analog equipment to preserve the authenticity of live performances. The album’s aesthetic draws from the concept of psychogeography, immersing the listener in the eerie stillness of urban edge-lands. Tracks like ‘Streetfight,’ ‘Evidence,’ and ‘Bridlepath Lane’ channel 80s drum sounds and distorted instrumentation to craft narratives of urban masculinity, social media envy, and nocturnal escapades. ‘O Veisalgia’ is a musical journey that invites listeners to contemplate the intricacies of modern existence, offering a poignant reflection on the world we inhabit.