Imagine having the co-sign from Elton John before your debut album is released. To have the BBC tag you as an artist to watch. This is what happened to the Scottish-born singer Joesef before the release of his debut, Permanent Damage.
It’s apparent right off the bat. The singer caught attention for his soulful vocals on a handful of EP’s from 2019-2021- and that prodigious talent continues here on album. The record opens with the title track – Joesef’s tender falsetto over building, stirring strings that seagues right into the woozy groove of “It’s Been A Little Heavy Lately”. Joesef’s vocals are brilliantly layered across a grilled backing track. It’s great mid-tempo number to kick the record off after such a stirring intro.
“East End Coast” is a shimmering love song, while the strummed “Just Come Home with Me Tonight” feels a touch desperate, brought home by the effortless, gorgeous vocal performance. “Didn’t Know How (to Love You)” feels like it could be a hit in any decade with its retro sounding rhythm section, and “Apt 22” feels like a Motown cast-off, rediscovered again in 2023.
Joesef is an artist of immense talent. It feels like an album of an artist confident in their ability, but still trying on new sounds. There are beautiful, electric moments here. The record feels like it’s still directed inward – pure, undistilled emotional honesty on display for all to hear. It’s the sound of an artist capable of great things, a tantalizing sample of an artist pushing towards the edge of their comfort zone. It’s the opening salvo before the world bursts wide open for Joesef. We’re all here to get to see him transform in real time.
- Brendan Hilliard, Obviate Media
Listen to Permanent Damage