Cult Scottish indie-poppers, The Just Joans, are set to return next week with You Might Be Smiling Now, their first album since their 2006 debut, Last Tango In Motherwell. You Might Be Smiling now is an exploration of angst, heartbreak and detachment, delivered with a flash of humour from the bottle of a whisky bottle (or should that be a Buckfast bottle). Their sound is classically indie-pop, coming across like Belle and Sebastian’s less well-to-do cousins, or Morrissey if he spent like time trying to look poetic and more time trying to impress the opposite sex with knee slides. The album marks a spectacular return from a band who happily claim the title of, “the laziest band in Scotland”.
Ahead of You Might Be Smiling Now’s release next week, today we’re premiering the band’s video to one of the album’s finest moments, the heart-wrenching ballad, I Only Smoke When I Drink. Discussing the inspiration behind the track, David Pope from the band suggests it, “is an ode to the tragicomedy that is the weekend. TFI Friday quickly evaporates to be replaced by FML Sunday, and the perpetual search for someone to stay in with inevitably ends in heartache and hangovers”.
The accompanying video, directed by Jason Sweeney is set around Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow, the perfect setting for attempting to mirror what Jason describes as, “the ‘angst-hope-angst’ trajectory” present in the song. It traces a night out from its hopeful beginnings, through to failed romanticism and ultimately, predictably booze fuelled disaster.
Watch the video below and then read on to our Q&A with The Just Joans, a band who in their own words are, “older but not much wiser” – we’ll drink to that, and we’re pretty sure The Just Joans will too.
FTR: For those who don’t know who are The Just Joans?
The Just Joans are an ageing six-piece indie pop band from the west of Scotland. We’re named after a well known Scottish agony aunt and we’ve been on the go, in some form or another, for about 12 years. We write songs about teen angst, nostalgia, failing relationships, the passing of time and drunken nights out.
FTR: We’re premiering your new video, I Only Smoke When I Drink, what can you tell us about the video?
The video was filmed by our drummer (Jason) in and around the notorious Sauchiehall Street area of Glasgow. The video reflects the angst-hope-angst trajectory of a typical night out in town.
FTR: It’s been eleven years since your debut album and a lot of these songs are already live favourites, what made this the right time to release a new record?
Yeah, it’s been quite a long time since we last released anything… mostly because we’re perhaps the laziest band in Scotland. We’ve recorded wee bits and pieces over the last few years and finally found the time to finish it off over the last 6 months or so…therefore the time was right!
FTR: What did you differently on this record compared to other recordings?
I don’t think we’ve done anything radically different with this new record. Guess we’re all a bit older and think the themes of the songs reflect that. Think we’re also getting (marginally) better at the whole recording process. It’s still DIY and pretty lo-fi…but marginally less so. We tried our hand at a bit of synth pop too.
FTR: The record is coming out on Fika Recordings, how did that come about?
The indie pop scene is pretty small and incestuous, so we’d met Tom from Fika recordings at gigs and the annual knees-up at Indietracks. We’d always been fans of the label and he’d always said that he’d be interested in putting something out (if we ever got round to recording it). We finally got around to recording it and Tom/Fika was the natural choice.
FTR: What are you ambitions for this record?
I don’t think we’ve ever been the most ambitious of bands but it’d be nice to get a few positive reviews. Might be good to slightly expand our fan base too…perhaps to include a few non-family members.
FTR: What’s next for The Just Joans?
We’re working on our next album. Should be available by 2027.
You Might Be Smiling Now is out December 1st via Fika Recordings. Click HERE for more information on The Just Joans.