THE JOYS - Adventures In...


E1 Entertainment

The Joys have been critical darlings in Southern Ontario for years, with three previous albums charting high on College Radio, winning a Jack Richardson Award for ‘Best Female Fronted Band’, and selling 15,000 CDs from the stage which earned them a gold record (in a country that now has trouble giving them away). That doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a typical struggle.  Fortunately for The Joys, the masses still want to rock, especially points east and west.

“Adventures In…” comes via Winnipeg where producer Dale Penner (Nickelback, Econoline Crush, Holly McNarland, Matthew Good) has helped The Joys craft a substantial rock album for hungry audiences in the ever shrinking CanRock nation.

Guitarist-vocalist Sarah Smith has continued the tradition of great female rock vocalists. Gone are the outdated 1980’s Lee Aaron metal cliches and Janis Joplin’s idiosyncratic edginess found on 2008’s “Unfold” although one track does meld the best of both singers - “High” could be a cousin to Joplin’s “Move Over” if it had appeared on Aaron’s debut album.

Thankfully, Smith reveals a bigger range with hints of Darby Mills, Holly Woods, Ann Wilson (Heart) and Alannah Myles on barn-burners like the first single “Hard Makin’ Money”, “Bury You”, and “Outta My Head”.

However, most welcome is the discovery of Smith’s own distinctive vocal signature on the abbreviated and soon-to-be modern torch classic “Smoke So Much”, the electric balladry of “Chains”, the contemporary alt-rock of “Can’t Feel”, and the Southern fueled mega-jam album closer “Time”.

The band is at its most confident while playing loose and hard – former guitarist Mike McKyes bares his Hendrix, Allman Brothers and metal influences on tracks like “Hard Makin’ Money”, “Bury You”, “Outta My Head” and “High” while the frenetic intensity of rhythm section Ken Ross (bass) and Kevin Komatsu (drums) holds the entire album together despite mid-album style divergences.

The Joys have finally arrived. It’s time the rest of the world takes a listen to see what all the fuss is about.

Jaimie Vernon