The gnarly flows like wine all through Joy‘s Tee Pee Records debut, Under the Spell Of…, and the trio rip into an assortment of classic heavy rock jams comprised of tripped out explorations, psychedelic and organic in kind. A trio based out of San Diego, the bluesy circles they run offer a touch of earlier Radio Moscow, but with longer songs — all but two over six minutes and one of those is the album’s intro — Joy distinguish themselves with a raw sense of killing it for the sake of killing it, and the only real question is whether they named themselves after the joy they get in creating this sonic thrust or the joy they give crowds lucky enough to watch them do it. Maybe both.
Guest spots show up throughout Under the Spell Of…‘s eight tracks/46 minutes including Hawkwind‘s Nik Turner, Parker Griggs of the aforementioned Radio Moscow and Astra‘s Brian Ellis, who also produced, and each of them mesh smoothly with the classic power trio dynamic of guitarist/vocalist Zach Oakley, bassist Justin Holson and drummer Paul Morrone, honed over the two years since they made their self-titled, self-released debut in shows alongside the likes of Earthless, Harsh Toke and Mystery Ship. To wit, an early groover like “Evil” subtly draws back the initial charge of “Miles Away” and “Confusion,” setting up the later boogie of “Driving Me Insane,” which smooths progressive shifts in tempo and rhythm with tossoff-style ease. Supreme shuffle ensues, and after the quieter, semi-acoustic sojourn “Death Hymn Blues,” closer “Back to the Sun” feels like a victory lap touting the parsecs traveled since the record’s psyched-out launch in the intro “Under the Spell” and “Miles Away.”
Under the Spell Of… doesn’t make a show of nuance, but it’s there for those who want to hear it, nestled into the airtight, live-sounding performances, particularly West Coast take on heavy psych and blown out echoes of “Miles Away,” which you can hear on the player below. Its seven minutes only comprise a small piece of what Joy have to offer, but I think you’ll find it’s almost impossible not to get lost in it once you start out, and in that, it definitely represents the spell that trio are looking to cast.
Good vibes and busted amps:
Joy will release Under the Spell Of… on Aug. 19 through Tee Pee Records. More info at the links.California, Joy, Joy Under the Spell of Joy, San Diego, Tee Pee Records, Under the Spell of Joy