TOO MUCH JOY – Cereal Killers

Album: Cereal Killers

Artist: Too Much Joy

Label: SideOneDummy

Release Date: December 10, 2013

Too Much Joy 12-10


 Gather round kids, it’s time for the old man to talk again about a time when music mattered, back in Golden era: the early ‘90s. Yeah those half senile Baby Boomers will try and tell that their generation’s music was the pinnacle of perfection, but that’s just revisionist history. (Sure, Fleetwood Mac put out Rumours, but they have pretty much been screaming downhill on a Rascal scooter with its breaks cut ever since. You also want to take credit for Bread and America?).

 Yes, early 1990’s alternative rock was the payoff for having to endure a decade of hair metal. Nirvana and Sonic Youth were the great rain that washed away the filth that had clogged up radio airwaves for years and suddenly MTV’s crazy aunt locked in the attic alt video show 120 Minutes was given a prime time audience. Dokken begat Jesus Lizard and Poison begat the Cowboy Junkies and all was right with the world for a brief period; before bands like Candlebox and Stone Temple Pilots decided to crash the party… but I digress.

 Scarsdale, NY’s Too Much Joy came about in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s, with witty songs wrapped in a power pop coating, with just enough loud, spikey guitars to make the cool kids pay attention. Cereal Killers, their third effort, and best just behind its follow up Mutiny, found the band at its prime. The indie punk label SideOneDummy gave Gen X a sweet kiss on the cheek last month when they decided to re-release this 1991 album on vinyl.

 The record has all the signs of early 90’s college radio fodder: a “fuck” uttered on the opening track, a cameo by KRS-One (worked for R.E.M., why not us?) and plenty of authority-tweaking sentiments highlighted by a liberal use of sarcasm. Songs like “Good Kill” and “Thanksgiving in Reno” still hold up remarkable well, 22 years after the band first turned them in. There’s honestly not a weak track on the album.

 I’m not delusional enough to claim that this record is up there with Revolver and Nevermind, but it’s still a fantastic snap shot of a fun band with great songs playing music at a time when radio airplay and long term career-calculation where not always top of mind.      

 DOWNLOAD: “Good Kill,” “Nothing on My Mind” and “Thanksgiving in Reno”


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