Mistakes Were Made

Too Much Joy

Independent release, 2021


REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


If you've been hanging around the alternative scene for several decades, you might remember New York's Too Much Joy. A band that were most active in the late '80s and early '90s, though they never officially broke up, they've certainly been much less present these last couple of decades. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Mistakes Were Made, their first album in 25 years, was ultimately a product of COVID. While quarantined, the band decided to play again, and even resurrected some tunes from the '90s that were never officially released for this triumphant return.

Too Much Joy have had a colorful career that includes being sued by Bozo The Clown, being arrested for covering 2 Live Crew songs and being questioned by the Secret Service. What they will hopefully always be remembered for, though, is the sort of raw, bristling and acutely melodic rock that's present all over this record.

The listen starts with the rumbling bass and firm drumming of the nostalgic post-punk of “Blinding Light Of Love,” where Tim Quirk's versatile vocals howl, sneer and even get tuneful. “Uncle Watson Wants To Think” follows, and recruits Joan Osborne for the acoustic guitar-fueled climate that still has plenty of grit amid the Americana.

Elsewhere, the band enter hazy psychedelia with the surreal “Something To Drink About”, and the clever “Tranq It Up” offers a lively retro-rocker in a Rolling Stones-meets-New Wave sort of way. “Flux Capacitor,” another excellent acoustic track, then resides in folk territory with its warm strumming and eloquent singing.

Some of the best tracks land near the end, including the rugged guitar crunch of the alt-rock flavored “New Memories,” while “More Of The Stuff I Like” emits a soulful quality where graceful piano enters the equation. “Just Around The Bend” finishes the listen with a 10-minute collage of classic rock, proto-punk and anthemic sounds that you can't help but sing along to immediately.

Rating: A

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