The single handed alternative project Djo Life, based in Tucson AZ, but originating from NYC produce almost unclassifiable pieces of music- essentially a blend of brooding or joyful poetic mantras driven underneath by a musical terrain which constantly shifts, flaring up unexpectedly in orchestral or synthetic waves, acoustic streams and pealing blasts of guitar. “Each song is a lyrical poem with the music as a means to augment the composition into something altogether precious and singular,” says Djo Life, who ultimately is fond of embracing New Wave and Classic Rock elements in his music.
The lyrics are certainly broadly decipherable, but the mystery, the sense that you could spend a lifetime with a song and not fully understand it, constantly pervades some of the lyric sheets. Djo Life’s work has plenty of lyrically depth alongside the big choruses and personal sentiments.
“Anytime, Every Time” certainly has its moments of romantic nostalgia, but it’s one of Djo Life’s more directly relatable tracks. There’s an autumnal warmth to its baroque alt-folk rock that is reflected in the rustic and amber acoustic-driven tones adorning its three minute and twelve second duration.
Sounding something like a high-riding cross between Oasis and The Verve, the song gives it’s narrator a sense of how to turn personal reflections of memory, person and place into something universal.
“Every time she smiles at me I know. Life is full of mystery, melody and irony, and hope. And any time she laughs at me I grow. Higher than the Redwood tree ‘cause I know that in her arms I’m home.” This is so easily relatable and has a mass-appeal singalong.
In his narrative Djo Life always finds the right pockets to sink his lyrical gems. But while the project’s organic driven instrumental yield on “Anytime, Every Time”, is virtually flawless throughout, it’s Djo Life’s vocals which is at the forefront.
As a showcase for his voice, this track displays his full and rich vocal range and presents that voice as the clear centerpiece, which is fundamental to the project’s, primarily, lyric driven style. It’s not all about his pipes, though, even if there are many instances where he shows the audible confidence and swagger only possessed by a true singing performer.
Indeed, it’s the songwriting which shares center stage with Djo Life’s vocal bravado. His tracks are generally well-constructed – alternative pop songs filled with catchy hooks and singalong choruses, but no excess fat around the edges.
If you want an effortless way to get into Djo Life, “Anytime, Every Time” is definitely the place to start. While this song is simple and catchy, it still avoids coming off as boring and cheesy – an easy trap when composing a nostalgic love ode. The real pleasure that this track brings is replay value.
Catchy songs and replay value usually don’t go together very well, but “Anytime, Every Time” succeeds when it comes to that. Due mainly to the elevated lyrical level which produces a song of heartfelt beauty and splendor.
Djo Life is on radio rotation with the tracks “Anytime, Every Time” and “The Cactus Song”.