The new single "Miles Away" explores the universal relatability of a broken heart as joyful. hones in on its core sound. // Courtesy of joyful.

joyful. holds memories close with new rock single ‘Miles Away’

With heartfelt lyrics and a catchy hook, joyful. crafts a comfortable new song about loss and memories.

As the gray February skies weigh down, a longing for brighter times can start to seep in around the damp, chilly edges.

Suburban rock band joyful. is ready to help listeners slip on a worn, but warm, jacket with the nostalgia-driven new single “Miles Away,” out for streaming and purchase Friday, Feb. 25.

The new song is a comfortable dose of memories for the trio — Schaumburg’s Will Garza on bass, Lombard’s Andy Hilligoss on guitar and Villa Park’s Jake Newling on drums — with its familiar emo and pop-punk influences. And while the catchy chorus is almost-but-not-quite cozy against the chill of broken hearts and regret conjured in the song, the track is refreshing in its sonic flourishes and upbeat take on reminiscing.

In its just over two years on the scene, joyful. has proven it won’t shy away from heavier topics, candidly tackling broken friendships, addiction and other dark emotional toils that bubble to the surface, most filtered through the lens of primary songwriter Hilligoss. But rather than solely diving into his psyche to write this new track, the trio collaborated in a way they hadn’t previously.

“It was a collective effort where we were all shooting out lyrics and stuff. I think at one point I was singing them all like country-style, looking for a good hook that worked,” explained Hilligoss, the band’s vocalist. “We settled on something that’s pretty universal and something that we can all relate to in some way.”

“A lot of the songs that came before it came from, at least for you, more of a personal place,” drummer Newling said to Hilligoss about his writing on the first set of joyful. releases. “When we sat down and came up with what this was going to be about, it was kind of understood this is going to be a thing everybody deals with. … Everybody dates. And everybody gets their heart broken.”

The result is an examination of some inescapable truths: We will all lose someone, and eventually we will all miss bygone eras in our lives. The trio’s collaboration on this track only broadens its appeal, like a fleecy blanket statement listeners will surely recognize as they nestle into it — not just empathizing with the song’s subject but truly relating to the feelings.

“I felt like we were like a complete unit working on it,” Hilligoss said. “It’s not like one person was in charge of writing super meaningful lyrics that only they can relate to. Everyone pulled together to make the final product, which was really cool in its own way.”

The longtime friends created joyful. in late 2019, shortly before the pandemic locked them out of venues, so they’ve only recently been able to take Chicago-area stages together. In the meantime, they’ve been writing more new material, some slated for release later this year.

“We get excited about playing shows,” Hilligoss said. “But personally, my favorite thing to do is just make music with these guys, even if it’s not released or not at a show. I just like jamming with these guys and making music. I think we all really like songwriting and the creative process. It’s my favorite part, so I want to just keep getting better and writing better songs. And I guess the rest, in my mind, will just follow.”

• • •

Better Love, Mint Green, OK Cool and joyful.

When: 8 p.m. Thursday, March 17

Where: Burlington Bar, 3425 W. Fullerton Ave., Chicago, (773) 384-3243 or facebook.com/TheBurlington

Tickets: $15


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