What’s that shouty man want and where is that thundering rhythm coming from? Looks like San Diego’s psych rockers Joy have been at it again. Here they offer up a rock ’em, sock ’em follow up to 2014’s Under The Spell Of Joy which just so happened to pick up a gong and a thoroughly glowing review from Guitar World. For Ride Along! the band have grabbed help where they can and a quick scan shows us we have guest spots from Earthless drummer Mario Rubalcaba, Radio Moscow guitarist Parker Griggs and guitarist Brenden Dellar, of Tee Pee labelmates Sacri Monti.
This long-player rapidly establishes itself as a feisty little number by tearing off at a fair old lick. It’s hectic, bass-heavy, not averse to a spot of impressive guitar noodling, and you’ll also find a vocal set well back in the mix. In fact, it’s so far back there, it’s almost a distraction and takes some getting used to. Reminiscent of the echoing, deliberately thin delivery that rock bands like Jackson Firebird and Foxy Shazam often employ for effect, this is constant and actually borders on the punishing rants so favoured by The Sex Pistols. Stripped back, it’s just a harsh, punked-up statement but don’t expect an easy ride all the same.
Happily the fat fuzzing blues that wander behind Zachary Oakley’s wailing wall are way cool. So whilst tracks like the discordant “Help Me” and “Red, White and Blues” grab you like some snotty mohican-sporting yobbo, there are the rumbling thrills of ZZ Top’s “Certified Blues” and the captivating, string-bending rock monster “Gypsy Mother’s Son” to balance it all out. If those beauties still fail to tickle your tastebuds then the psychedelic breakfast of “Peyote Blues” will. Elsewhere the groove-laden strut of the title-track and the twin-fingered salute of “Evil Woman” provide a complete sense of just how versatile this band can actually be when they want to play.
It’s pretty wild fare but, hey, everyone needs a good solid boot up the arse every now and then, and this twisted son could just be the throwback rock n’roll powerhouse we’ve all secretly been craving.
(7/10 John Skibeat)