Joy's self-titled debut includes 11 songs of carefully crafted home recordings. Ex-Godboy members Daniel Madri and Matt Savage lead the way on guitar and vocals, while guitarist Ariel Rabinovic and drummer Matt Dodge add subtle details to the intimate, folk-based recordings. Recorded mostly on four-track and mixed at Basement 247 Studios in Allston, MA, Joy's strength is in warm, simple tones and Savage's colorful vocals. "Lump of Eels" opens the disc with compelling lyrics and restrained instruments, and the second track, "Garden State Parkway," confirms the band's calm and quirky musical instincts. "Magma Pump" is a wonderfully light and rich ode to a lover, while the gentle "Little Breaths" creates an otherworldly simple tone on acoustic guitar, retaining familiarity and originality at once. The bare-bones simplicity of the acoustic-based "Something" offers tranquil harmonies, while the piano of the next track, "Pulverized," adds a new flavor to the band's arsenal, as Savage pushes his voice to limits not previously heard. "The Trouble With Motivation" is rich with lo-fi sincerity that epitomized Shrimper Records' early, trailblazing releases. The layered "My Favorite Parking Lot" includes more textured instrumentation and electronic additions, and "Change & Adaptation" closes the disc with upbeat frolic. The album is anything but polished, favoring the immediacy of home recordings and the layered grace of a live sound over refined, inherent clarity. Joy was released by Shrimper in 2003.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Cramer