Oregon folk trio Joseph is composed of three sisters whose intoxicating harmonies already landed their sophomore album, I’m Alone, No You’re Not a spot on our best albums of the month list in August. Despite the record’s success, Natalie, Allison, and Meegan Closner are not the type to rest on their laurels, so it’s not surprising that following up their album and 2017 tour, they’ve already released a free EP. Entitled On The Road Jo, the purpose of this EP is to give fans a sense of what the band is like live — and boy does it accomplish that.
The sisters use their stunning harmonies to rework several of their own songs as live renditions, and tackle a pop classic for good measure: Britney Spears’ “Toxic.” Of course, songwriter versions of pop songs are a time-honored tradition — Ryan Adams’ 1989, anyone? — and have been well before Joseph. Let’s not forget the time Anya Marina turned “Whatever You Like” into a mournful, skeletal shiver of hedonism.
The Closner sisters have achieved a similar feat with their “Toxic” cover. Sans drums and the whirring synths, the three girls are able to turn the pulsing chorus into a cry of desire, punctuated with a yearning that’s threaded through their harmonies at every turn. Considering Britney is leaning toward airy harmonies a bit more herself on her latest album Glory — which is also one of the best albums to come out in August — I’m guessing she’ll give this folksy update a co-sign if she hears it!
Listen below and check out the EP here.