Joy Electric's Ronnie Martin basically made a greatest hits type thing with the double-disc collection, The Art and Craft of Popular Music. This retrospective spans eight years of Joy Electric material, highlighting Martin's favorite cuts, as well as brand new songs. Obviously, the work of Depeche Mode, the Pet Shop Boys, and early New Order are sure ways to Martin's heart, for The Art and Craft of Popular Music echoes shiny, bright new wave ambience. Dark, muted synthesizers overlap Martin's boyish, artsy vocals. Classics such as "The Matterhorn" and "Ringing Bells" are standouts, and the kitschy cool "Every Nook and Cranny" is an added bonus. The Christian-tailored "Disco for a Ride" follows suit, while structured, basic pop songs like "The Girl From Rosewood Lane" and "Keep Him in Your Thoughts" showcase Martin's growing status as a songwriter and musician. Joy Electric is a rare breed, and The Art and Craft of Popular Music pays close attention to what once was without getting lost. Ronnie Martin has carved himself a space inside indie pop -- it might be small, but he's there and that's what counts.
AllMusic Review by MacKenzie Wilson
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2