Little Joy by Death Party Playground has been a long time coming. I remember hearing early versions of some songs in the final track list about two or three years ago at Becky’s Apartment when they released the Bruce Willis Jog Mixtape #3.

Those familiar with Kyle Taylor and his passion project, Death Party Playground, will instantly recognize the trademark, Springsteen-esque brand of story-time rock and roll that they have been peddling at venues around KW. The recent offering — an independently released full length project supported by a local arts grant — provides fans with a more polished sound.

Fleshed out with a wide range of lush instruments, the album is maximalist when it wants to be and minimal when it needs to be.

What stands out is Taylor’s ability to craft music that isn’t bound by time or space. The album feels nostalgic in a way that’s hard to pin down; sometimes it’s the vocal harmonies, sometimes it’s a familiar drum pattern.

Little Joy is ultimately the perfect mix of throwback ear-worm tracks and contemporary rock ballads. The album will have you feeling feelings: some of which are familiar and some of which that are totally new.

The emphasis is always on the feeling.

– Kurtis Rideout, local musician, producer and ad manager for WLUSP