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JoyFocus - 2009 Cyber Suburban Electro Rock Circus

ARTIST: Joyfocus
ALBUM: Cyber Suburban Electro Rock Circus
LABEL: Atomic Monster Productions
YEAR: 2009
SPONSOR: Rikk Currence


LINEUP: Holly Joy - lead and background vocals * Rikk Currence - guitars, bass, keyboards, programming, drums, percussion, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Audrey Is Gone * 02 Princess Samantha * 03 Grey Day My Way (War Of Me) * 04 Prayer * 05 Salvation * 06 Halos And Flames * 07 All That You Need * 08 Here Comes The Rain Again * 09 Reprise



Step right up, step right up - Ladies and Gentlemen! Welcome to the Cyber Suburban Electro Rock Circus. Gather around all comers.. be prepared to be taken back to another time and place, as the duo who go by the name Joyfocus tantalize your ears and mind. Sit back and relax and let the CSERC entertain you! Well.. with that entrance out of the way, we can move on from the welcoming mat and into the Joyfocus arena, made popular by the tandem pairing of Holly Joy (the joy in joyfocus obviously) and multi instrumentalist Rikk Currence. The duo originate from Wheaton Illinois, a suburb on the outer west side of Chicago, but it's their sound as opposed to their geographic location that is of more interest to us. The Joyfocus sound is an extraordinary mix of Storm (the Jeanette Chase version), Queen, Wilshire, The Outfield and Wilson Phillips. You hear all these references in their songs. But wait.. there's more.. I've only just mentioned the handful of similarities that just spring to mind. There are others for you to pick the eyes out of as you listen to this impressive nine track CD.

The Songs
The impressive lead off track 'Audrey Is Gone' kicks us into gear. A poignant tale of a woman who has recently passed on. Musically, this stirs a few memories from the past, with vocal harmonies straight out of the Wilson Phillips back catalog, with a brash drum sound not heard since the last Storm album. Even the second verse kicks up merry hell that would have Jeanette Chase and Lear Stevens quizzing this duo with interest! Holly is busy picking daisy chains on 'Princess Samantha', asking the age old question he loves me, he loves me not. The wistful lyrics makes way for a brash assault on your aural senses by the time the first chorus arrives. The same contrast between verse and chorus is found on 'Grey Day My Way', easy to land this one in power-pop territory due to its slight whimsical style. Piano and acoustic guitar are the big drivers on the soulful ballad 'Prayer', whereas 'Salvation' is as good as any of the songs highlighting Joy's vocal with Currence's musical ability. The expressive lyrics on 'Halos And Flames' waves a wand at the Wilshire style of pop which I have enjoyed on their previous records. Currence up's the musical energy on the harder sounding 'All That You Need', with a myriad of synth effects and riffing guitars among the mix. Loved the cover of The Eurhythmics standard 'Here Comes The Rain Again', nice to hear it in an updated style. The album finishes with 'Reprise', a continuation of the first track 'Audrey Is Gone'.

In Summary
Some very interesting tracks here. I believe the album will endear to those of you with a liking for pop/power-pop. Certainly the reference points I have mentioned previously will have some of you making inquiries over at the MySpace page. Last year we had Texan band The Bright causing all sorts of merry mayhem among you. This year you can add JoyFocus to the list. In years gone by, the city of Chicago has provided many highlights in the melodic pop rock/power-pop movement. Lovely to see the Windy City (and outer suburbs thereof) still providing evidence of this well into 2009!

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#1 | Eric on March 25 2009 12:12:16
Good stuff!
#2 | Nick C on April 01 2009 11:19:13
Yeah I liked it, I went over to their site and checked out a few more songs. I can see the similarities to Storm but they remind me a whole lot more of a somewhat lighter Powder (especially their last album Nothing). I can't find anywhere to grab the CD though...pity...iTunes just isn't for me.
#3 | Jez on April 03 2009 02:58:27
Yeah - The Storm comparison is definitely there. Like Nick, I was looking to get the CD, but can't find anywhere either.
#4 | englandashes on September 23 2009 12:12:18
Not my usual listening, but after picking this up for £1 recently, quite enjoyed 'All That You Need' and even the Eurythmics cover, yep, recommended album.

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