JOY (Stoner Metal) Under the Spell of JOY [Digipak] CD. Audio Mixer: Brian Ellis.
Arranger: JOY .
If you grew up in the '70s, you've already heard JOY's second full-length album, Under the Spell of JOY. It was bleeding through the walls of your older brother's room, being played at earsplitting volume on a mid-priced stereo while he and his buddies fired up both his black light and the bong he thought no one knew was there. OK, not really, but some bands sound as if they've made a careful study of the music of the past, while others appear to have traveled through time and come back with the authentic spark of another age. JOY fall squarely into the latter category. JOY are a heavy psych-oriented power trio from San Diego whose music recalls Blue Cheer, Hawkwind, Jimi Hendrix, and Cream's harder side, but on this album they sound like contemporaries of those bands rather than mere followers; Zachary Oakley's guitar work is skillful and reckless at the same time, and as he bounds through his thick, distorted leads, he commands a rich, acid-tinged tone that would have blown the roof off any number of theaters and arenas in a cooler, louder age. Bassist Justin Hulson and drummer Paul Marrone sound slightly less original, following a template laid down by Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell, but given how those musicians helped define the accepted sound of a power trio in the late '60s, they certainly fit the mood and style of the band, and they support Oakley beautifully. And the occasional keyboard overdubs (and sax interjections from Hawkwind's Nik Turner) add heft to a band that has already plenty to spare. Under the Spell of JOY is 45 minutes of righteous jamming that recalls an age when that phrase wasn't meant to be funny; if you dig heavy psych and marathon guitar workouts, get back to your brother's room and give this a spin ASAP. ~ Mark Deming