Too Much Joy

Giant Records, 1992

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler


Jesus, what an album! Breaking away from the almost lightweight seriousness of Cereal Killers, TMJ was rushed back into the studio with producer William Wittman, best known for working with the Hooters, Cyndi Lauper, and the Outfield. Rocking right out of the gate with the amazing entendre of “Parachute,” the band cranks up the volume and rarely lets it drop.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“Donna Everywhere” became one of their biggest hits and instantly earned its way into my brain. It’s a fantastic song, full of melody, rhythm, and life. It’s jubilant and joyful with a funny video to boot. The band also began to branch out a bit with some different tracks on this disc. At over five minutes, “What It Is” is one of their longest and most experimental, showing them with multi-tracked backing vocals and different instrumentation. “In Perpetuity” is a ballad and a damn fine one at that. I used to think that the song would’ve been perfect on Lite 98, the Virginia easy listening station. It would’ve been right at home alongside Air Supply and Phil Collins schmaltz. That’s how dynamic this band was; they could do literally everything.

Of course, there are plenty of rockers like “Just Like A Man” and a really good rewrite of the Records’ New Wave classic “Starry Eyes,” which sounds just as good if not better than the original. Even the songs that kind of sound a bit dated, like “Sin Tax” and “Stay At Home,” have a crunch to them that contributes to the overall RAWK sound of the record.

“Sort Of Haunted House” is a bit mellow but it’s still quite a good song and shows what the band would’ve melded into after a couple of more records. Closing the album with the punk rock fury of “Sorry” really reveals how great this band was.

Unfortunately, Giant Records dicked the band around, and after a tour with Mighty Lemon Drops and Material Issue and one more album four years later, TMJ went into a permanent hiatus. But with this record, they proved they were one of the most underrated bands of the alt rock era.

Rating: B+

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