Heavy Chevy

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Joystick spins off the sound of the '80s California punk-hardcore scene, and bands such as the Descendents and the Adolescents are evident in their music (by way of the Sex Pistols' agitated exterior), but they extend those precedents by extending the musicianship inherent on the album and by drawing even more heavily on pop. The Montecito, CA band is fast and loud but isn't allergic to things like hooks, harmony vocals, guitar solos, and pop melodies, all of which they employ to good effect on Heavy Chevy. Universal adolescent themes pop up all through the album, from the muscle car that gives the album its title to subjects such as playing music and getting signed by a label, to good girls who don't and bad girls who do, to selling out and the hypocrisy of society, to just hanging out and being bored, working stupid jobs and fretting about wasting away. Joystick covers all that ground in a characteristically snotty but tongue in cheek way, and a humorous smart-ass attitude shines through on most of the songs. Playfully snide song titles such as "A Grand Band," "Part Time: Job and Beer," and "Bobafet Never Said Much" give away the approach the members of Joystick take in life. Unlike many post-hardcore punk bands, Joystick are heavy by dint of their rapid-fire instrumental attack, but rarely sneak up to the heavy metal line, let alone cross over it. Heavy Chevy has plenty of musical bite, but is extremely economical, and its guitar solos always avoid cliche. It is invigorating, even intermittently inspiring music, that is capable of providing a quick rush of energy.

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