Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Review: Little Joy - Little Joy (* * * 1/2)

It's been years since The Strokes burst onto the indie scene and took it by storm, but it's been a case of diminishing returns after their first album. Luckily, The Strokes have produced a couple of very worthwhile side projects. Guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. already has two solo albums under his belt, and now we get Little Joy, the breezy, sunny, retro-pop outfit led by drummer Fabrizio Moretti.

Right from the start, Little Joy makes its intentions known; to provide the ultimate soundtrack for lounging on the beach or taking relaxing drives during warm, So-Cal afternoons. "The Next Time Around" is one of several album highlights, with smooth harmonies, a simple drum line and just a touch of reggae. Following is "Brand New Start," which employs some muted horns to round out a very classic pop tune with the cheerful chorus "ain't no lover like the one I got." Novel? Not exactly. Charming? Absolutely. And so it goes for 11 tracks totaling just over 30 minutes.

Not everything on Little Joy succeeds completely. The band sound much more comfortable on upbeat tracks like "No One's Better Sake" or "How To Hang A Warhol" than they do on snoozers like "With Strangers," but the diversity of tempo and style keeps things interesting, if occasionally sleep-inducing. Little Joy remind me of that beer commercial, you know, the one about the smooth taste that doesn't fill you up and never lets you down? The band have crafted an album that feels effortless and fun, making for an enjoyable half hour guaranteed to relieve some stress and put a smile on your face.

Favorite Tracks: "The Next Time Around," "No One's Better Sake," "

Check out the band's MySpace page