Artist: Joy Electric
Title: Favorites at Play
Label: Tooth & Nail Records
Covers album, JE style …
This is a Joy Electric album. Obvious statement, perhaps, but listening to Favorites at Play for any length of time whatsoever yields two primary responses, the dominant of which is "This has to be Joy Electric!" The blips, the bleeps, the 8-bit pop—it's all instantly familiar.
That familiarity only grows once each song on Favorites at Play finds its groove. This covers album boasts many of pop music's well-known numbers of the last few years. From Coldplay to Paramore, Ronnie Martin plays well with others, crafting an analog dream from the constructs of others.
Nelly Furtado's "Say It Right" finds new levels on which to sorrowfully haunt as Martin intones lines like "No, you don't mean nothin' at all to me" with a Cure-like feel. Blink-182's "I Miss You" feels largely the same with only an electronica coating surrounding. The same can be said for the lifeless "Viva La Vida."
But largely these tracks succeed in their new skin. Feist's "1, 2, 3, 4" brings an instant fun factor to Favorites at Play and the sound surprisingly works even with "Falling Slowly" from the movie Once. Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know" already leaned toward such dreamy treatments, but Martin perhaps exhibits his remixing talents here. This track is fuller than the others and finds the deepest home on a shallow album.
Joy Electric is a niche taste for sure, but fans should have a blast with these tunes and pop music fans might find a nice surprise here, too.
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**This review first published on December 8, 2009.