Review: Joshua Lloyd Dives into Pop Punk with the Release of His Latest EP 'Sick When I Wake Up'
Earlier this year, we covered the release of 'White Lies' the latest single from English singer/songwriter Joshua Lloyd who recently announced his return to music with the release of a brand new EP 'Sick When I Wake Up'. Making a mark on the British music scene, Joshua has repeatedly captured listeners with raw lyrical insights of his journey with mental health whilst captivating fans with electrical displays of rap and hip-hop centred backings. Forever growing and engineering his own artistic direction, 2022 saw Joshua return to his roots as he delves into the 'Pop Punk' genre which has clearly made a mark on him both musically and beyond.
Released back in February, the EP kicks off with 'White Lies' a vibrant opening number which provided loyal fans and listeners with an insightful glimpse behind the artist's upcoming release. An avid music fan himself, Joshua cites artists such as Modsun and Machine Gun Kelly as major influences in his latest musical direction. Sitting down with Fan Features ahead of the release, Joshua discussed the EP in further depth sharing details behind the lyrics and what inspired his creative process along the way...
"I listened to Machine Gun Kelly's album 'Tickets to My Downfall' and I wanted to make something that had a story that's upbeat and personal like a track from that album."
"I had the chorus for about four months before I started making this genre of music. I knew I wanted to make something upbeat and in that genre so after that, I put pen to paper and made everything cohesive."
Having formerly resided in the genres of rap and hip-hop, 'White Lies' sees Joshua showcase his vocals for the first time on a more prominent level. A strong vocalist in his own right, Joshua transform the lyrics from paper to music with a moody kind of charisma and energetic bounce. A lively opening number, 'White Lies' serves as a fitting introduction to its following ensemble...
Complimenting the sound and characteristics of the EPs opening number, 'Suffocating' slows down the pace with a sleek guitar hook and mid-tempo beat as we venture further into its musical depths. Much like Joshua's previous releases, the track continues the exploration of taboo subjects providing a unique and insightful perspective of addiction and the battles that surround it. Lyrically, the song certainly doesn't hold back in its offering of a firsthand account of addiction and the forgotten impact on those closest to the individual.
"I wanted someone to be at my side and turn a blind when shit got to blurred to stay clean and work through my strive but I couldn't change; you know what I turned to..." - (lyrics from 'Suffocating')
In reality, how often do we consider the affects of addiction on friends, family and loved ones? Have we ever considered the pain and 'suffocating' turmoil one must face watching from the sides? I certainly haven't...yet through Joshua's eyes, we embark on that journey in what is an eye-opening musical encounter. Written with the utmost respect and understanding, the song shines a raw light on what is an unspoken and agonising battle for many.
’Unlucky’ marks the EP’s core point and remains consistent in sound corresponding harmoniously with the earlier tracks. As previously discussed, much of the artist's releases partakes a personal tone as Joshua continues to reflect upon personal battles and his journey beyond them. A passionate advocate for mental health awareness, Joshua often visits these topics within his lyrics as he uses his platform to engage in crucial discussion. Keeping within that tone, ‘Unlucky’ sees Joshua open up about depression; a prevalent subject in today’s society yet one often shaded with negative connotations. In an exclusive interview with the artist, Joshua explains his views on mental health further:
"It's a very hard thing to talk about for a lot of people, still. Especially from my point of view, as a man myself, there is a lot of stigma around men and mental health. I hope in my lifetime we get to a world where men don't feel the need to 'man up' or be unto their emotions because I lived a lot of my life scared of my emotions due to my mental health problem."
"I just think if you can use music as a platform to tell people it's alright to have a bad and that you're not alone...you should do it" he explains.
Celebrating the EP's release on Friday, Joshua surprised loyal fans known as the 'JL ARMY' by dropping an exciting new music video to coincide with the song. Filmed earlier this year, Joshua depicts the somber side of the "rockstar" life in a moody visual experience which subtly empathises the darker tones of the music. From excitable groupies to the harrowing buzz of the backstage experience, Joshua sings his way through the tunnel of scenery in a creative depiction of the track.
The EP's title track 'Sick When I Wake Up' is a real focal point for the release which features a killer collaboration with the incredible Becki Morgan. Becki is a singer/songwriter from Rugby, England who first broke onto the scene in 2021 and recently celebrated the release of her latest single 'Survive'. A powerful vocalist in her own right, Becki's distinct vocals bring an unique aura to the duet.
"They can expect some really good vocals from Becki. She could scream on a track and it would just put you somewhere. She's brilliant...really talented"
A resentful rock fuelled track, 'Sick When I Wake Up' reflects the journey of ex lovers detailing the anger and frustration of watching from afar as the other moves on. Together, Becki and Joshua capture the sheer emotion of the song in the rawest of forms; with a strong display of vocals and a relentless trade of fierce emotion is what truly delivers in this track. Weighing in on the track Joshua tells us more about the song's beginnings and how the killer collaboration first came to fruition:
"That actually came about through my friend Jaccob Bush." Joshua shares...
"Becki was someone he was working with and he said he could see if she was down to collaborate. He actually recorded her parts in his studio and then they would ring me up saying how do you want this bit? And yes...so we all worked together on that song" he concludes.
The EP concludes on an uplifting note with 'Time' which also happens to be amongst my personal favourites from the release. Whilst much of Joshua's music looks back on past experiences, I feel that 'Time' is representative of the present day and the artist's strive to grow. Acknowledging his flaws and willingness to own them, Joshua opens up for the final time with another carefully penned display of lyrical contemplation. Unlike prior tracks, 'Time' takes on a softer approach to the Pop-Punk genre with a catchy and uplifting melody which successfully showcases the artist's diverse ability within the genre. Featuring a message of healing and finding the strength to move on, the song is a much needed beacon of hope in today's society.
In summary, ‘Sick When I Wake Up’ is a powerful and diverse addition to Joshua's growing music repertoire and is in my opinion, quite possibly one of his greatest releases to date. Featuring a number of personal accounts and reflection, the EP provides a glimpse into the world of Joshua Lloyd and respectfully details the battles which shaped him. As a fan and listener, I was pleasantly surprised by the artist’s dive into Pop-Punk which admittedly, has helped expand my own love and knowledge of the genre. It's fair to say Pop punk has made a notable resurgence in recent years thanks to the contributions of artists such as Machine Gun Kelly and YUNGBLUD and despite such competition, Joshua has successfully grasped the genre and made it his own as showcased so finely throughout the EP.
Where Joshua’s earlier releases are solid examples of his musical gift, the EP truly shines with a vast sense of passion and enthusiasm. Undoubtedly, this is just the start for Joshua Lloyd and I genuinely believe there is much to excite ourselves as his artistry continues to grow...
‘Sick When I Wake Up’ is now available on all major music streaming. To keep up to date with the latest news and releases from Joshua Lloyd, please visit one of the links: