JOYOUS – Joyous

Hyperspace 2024


Sonic caress aired for all to share: Nassau County couple and their friends find reason for poetic rhyme.

Wearing romantic signs on their album’s sleeve may seem both organic and misleading for an ensemble driven by a wife-and-husband unit whose stylistic leanings lock Mickey-and-Sylvia “Love Is Strange” lyricism in a garage, allowing them to jive from dusk to dawn. However, poet-turned-singer Joy Maniscalco-Pratt and bassist Randy Pratt went for the this devil’s dozen cuts – almost all originals, including a few duets and a couple numbers of a four-decade vintage – and the record’s artwork with a tongue-in-cheek smile. They don’t try to play coy – the collective simply play – as suggested by their exquisitely charming cover of “Out Of Time” where the chanteuse shares vocal duties with the legendary Dean Parrish, so don’t expect any “Moon-June” cooing here. It’s much funnier than that.

Not for nothing the Jagger-Richards classic is followed with the raw, if triumphant, “Fun” – the platter’s reggae-tinged finale that’s full of psychedelic swagger which is only hinted at in a not-so-warm, yet funky, new-wave of opener “Midtown Afternoon” to project Mrs. Pratt as a feisty performer the world has rarely seen since Lene Lovich and Toyah reigned on the scene, before Randy’s harmonica licks infuse the piece’s flow with blues and set the tone for other surprises to follow. And while the effervescent “Stuyvesant Town” and “Electric Kiss” find her intimately husky voice wrapped in Patrick Klein’s tasty ‘n’ sticky six-string web, and the piano-stricken “Grabbing My Attention” pulses with post-punk defiance and offers fuzzy riffs, the acoustically driven “Cultivate The Light” and infectious, Farfisa-spiced “In The Dark” crawl into kaleidoscopic space, whereas “Luxury” and “Somedays” evoke the late ’60s acidic sweetness. More so, “Whatcha Doin’ To My Heart” unfolds into frenetic R’n’B with Ed Terry’s pipes augmenting those of the primary singer, and “Captured” marches forward across the stereo field strutting her brilliant attack on the chorus.

And then there’s the slowly burning, rock ‘n’ rolling “6 Miles High” again featuring Parrish as Joy’s sparring partner and enlivening instrumental weave of Pratt’s colleagues from THE LIZARDS, STAR PEOPLE and CACTUS. Joyous, indeed.


March 21, 2024

Category(s): Reviews
Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *