Songs of Joy
Debut album by the elusive Sons of Joy, featuring Daniel Merrill of Dead Rat Orchestra and Matthew Simpkins. Recorded in a garden shed in four hours with one microphone, Songs of Joy hits you with the immediacy of an Alan Lomax field recording and the brain-frying intensity of a post-industrial noise wig-out.
Recorded in a garden shed in four hours with one microphone, no mixing and no post-production, Songs of Joy is an album informed and inspired by the American pre-war gospel tradition, but delivered in a spirit of total abandonment to the sonic possibilities of two violins, two Pignose amplifiers and a stomp drum. It has the immediacy of an Alan Lomax field recording and the brain-frying intensity of a post-industrial noise wig-out. The Sons of Joy describe their mission as “to make joyful music for others to enjoy, free from commercial ambition or delusions of success.” They are on the right label.
Here’s what the folk press made of it:
“A full-blown distorted fire and brimstone rant that one might expect to encounter in the deepest depths of the American Bible Belt… they evoke the bible and Nick Drake on Balaam’s Ass, play buzzsaw fiddle on Keep My Body and plumb the depths of hell on the mindscraping soundscape that is The Lonesome Valley… while a rasping Old Time Religion comes across like the Salvation Army from Hell.” – Maverick
“Twin-fiddles, from the lush to the distorted, backed up by the world’s oldest big drum, lead this set of lo-fi Christian tunes and songs. Lou Reed, Nick Cave and backwoods preachers are all in there, bless ‘em. Magnificently loopy.”- fRoots
“It’s a visceral, rough hewn ride – foot stompy and fuzzy around the edges. Equally spooky and sublime, it’s hard to know whether these Sons will save you or send you to the pits of Hell. But whatever the final judgement, it’s sure to leave you in a better place. Amen!” – R2
“I’ve heard better sounding third generation bootlegs. I don’t suppose commercial success was the aim here but would have it have been too much of an artistic compromise to record these songs properly?” – Blues Bunny