From the smirky album title on down, Too Much Joy's debut album is clearly the work of over-educated, under-employed, upper-middle class kids with far too much time on their hands and the pager number of a good neighborhood dealer. Recorded in fits and starts between 1983 (when the trio were still in high school) and 1987, these 14 songs are often extremely clever and catchy, though an understandably sophomoric sense of humor prevails in the lyrics of songs like "Grandma Went to Athens Once" and "Bored With Love." Occasional juvenile lines aside, the garage-level playing actually enhances the punk-inflected pop tunes, and the rough-edged lo-fi production has its charm, especially in comparison to the group's occasionally too-slick, major-label records. In 1997, the Los Angeles indie Sugar Fix Records reissued the album with five bonus tracks, two from the original album sessions and three -- "Drunk and in Love," "Frustrated," and "Secret Handshake" -- recorded in 1993 after the group was dropped by Giant Records. That indignity factors into the pointed lyrics of all three songs, suggesting that perhaps the group take their career more seriously than they let on.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason