Joesef – Permanent Damage

‘Permanent Damage’ is an album for dancing away your demons.

Label: AWAL
Released: 13th January 2023

The title ‘Permanent Damage’ doesn’t exactly scream romance. Turns out there’s some truth to the age-old idiom that you should never judge an album by its title (that is how the saying goes, right? – ed), because love is exactly what Joesef’s debut album is about. An ode to the way that feeling can change us, ‘Permanent Damage’ is a collection of songs about wanting it, feeling it, hating it, needing it, leaving it, and how it shapes us even after it’s over.

Equal amounts soulful and playful, Joesef takes dancefloor-ready grooves and shapes them into polished pop perfection. On his debut album, he sounds more cinematic than ever. With an innate ability to take the brutal and turn it into something that sounds beautiful, ‘Permanent Damage’ breathes new life into larger-than-life every-day emotions with a sincerity that proves spellbinding.

Painting pictures of bad decisions, starry-eyed devotion, agonising heartache, and dream-lit reassurance, this might be an album written about heartbreak, but it’s so very far from hopeless. ‘Borderline’ is an emotional sledgehammer of a track, the devastatingly tender realisation that runs through the lyrics lifted into something soft and warm by delicate harmonies and unfaltering melodies. On self-titled single, ‘Joe’, we hear Joesef find freewheeling catharsis in his own self-hatred by unloading it into a sun-drenched sing-a-long. There’s even a song that’s pretty much all sunshine, aptly-titled ‘All Good’, on which he pledges that “even though nothing’s ever easy, I can promise you this: it’s all good.”

‘Permanent Damage’ is an album for dancing away your demons, for singing along with tears in your eyes and laughter on your lips, for letting everything go, feeling how you feel, and that feeling being good.

4.0 rating
Total Score
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