The Joy Circuit formed out of a unique situation; they were the backing band Ken Andrews hired on for his most recent space/indie/rock outfit Year of the Rabbit. Despite releasing what I considered to be two quality releases, the band fell into shambles. But rather than go their separate ways, drummer Tim Down, bassist Solomon Snyder, and guitarist Jeff Garber banded together to establish The Joy Circuit.
So the first question I'm sure for most of you is, "Does The Joy Circuit pick up where Year of the Rabbit left off?" Unfortunately, there's no clear-cut answer. The band still incorporates portions of the sounds found with Year of the Rabbit, but they also have found ways to infuse additional influences. Take the opening song, "They Know Where You Live," for example. Musically, the song follows the straightforward formula of putting the emphasis on Dow's skilled drumming abilities. To this is added Snyder's sassy basslines, and from there the guitars just follow the flow of things. The main difference is an expected one, Garber's vocals. While there are some slight similarities to Andrews's vocal style, Garber bears a much closer resemblance to early recordings of Bono before they became a watered down rendition of themselves.
"The Last Place on Earth," on the other hand, is a little more laid back. Snyder's bass playing comes to the forefront, the guitars are less bulky and much more simplistic ' think any of today's hip post-rock bands. Not the best song on the EP, but certainly not bad. Things keep moving along with the moody "X's." From the twinkling guitars of the opening sequence to the My Bloody Valentine-esque guitar solo midway through the song, I was in a state of solidarity. I must have repeated this song five times after the first time I heard it. It was an easy selection for my favorite track on the EP, since everything came together so eloquently.
The Joy Circuit changes things up a little with "Run." Rather than a traditionally structured song, instead we drift through this interlude engrossed with interweaving spacey guitars while Garber's soft voice moves up and down with the swells of guitar notes. EP1's last track, "Secret Fires," is most reminiscent of the music done under Year of the Rabbit. It is a perfect arrangement of driving drumming, swirling guitars, soft bass lines, and of course infectious vocals/lyrics.
The Joy Circuit has pieced together a fine release of infectious indie/pop songs that help ease the pain of yet another failed Andrews project. The band is able to stand on their own, demonstrating that they're equally as good at writing songs of this genre as their former frontman. I will be awaiting the band's next release with great anticipation.
8.0 / 10
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