While Ready Sexed Go! contains the first new Joykiller material in six years, it's also a retrospective of the California punk supergroup, offering tracks from all three of the band's mid-'90s studio albums. As such, it acts as a time line of sound, tracing the trajectory of Jack Grisham and his merry men from a T.S.O.L.-influenced punk/goth combo straight through to the multi-instrumental nuances of their later work. With Grisham's former bandmate Ron Emory along as a sideman for 1995's Joykiller, the album wavered between hardcore, punk revivalism, and gothic twinges. Emory is spectacular throughout the eight songs that appear here, particularly on "Love You More Dead" and "She." By 1996's Static, Joykiller had become a tightly wound pop-punk band, suggesting the Buzzcocks if they grew up in Huntington Beach with a stack of Beach Boys and Monkees records. "Sad" and "What a Girl" are theatrical, electrical, and full of mature touches from piano player Ronnie King and a host of backup vocalists. King expanded to Mellotron and synthesizer on the material for 1997's Three, which also featured Grisham's most ambitious and accomplished vocals yet. The six songs here still roar. But "Another Girl" plays power slides off of piano trills, and brings to mind 1970s power pop with its unabashed hooks, oohing and aaahing backup vocals, and hyperactive, busy arrangements. Apparently, the eight new songs that close Ready Sexed Go! weren't originally intended as Joykiller material, but rather were slated for issue under potential monikers "the Go" or "Gentleman Jack." Nevertheless, they're a logical progression from Three. Grisham is joined by guitarists Frank Agnew (Adolescents) and Jay Smith, and handles the limited piano parts himself. The power pop vibe is here, too, but it's crossed with a melodramatic, punk/new wave bent on tracks like "Breaking Up Is Cool" and "Ready to Play" that brings to mind Blake Schwarzenbach's work with Jets to Brazil. Pianist King returns for the finale, "Emily," a giddy punk screed that shifts gears into dirge territory. By this, the 32nd track on Ready Sexed Go!, the jarring stylistic about-face seems the perfect ending to Grisham and the Joykiller's wildly creative ride.
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AllMusic Review by Johnny Loftus