Joy Cleaner is a power pop trio from New Jersey whose sound adheres very much to the genre’s name. Grungy guitars and catchy hooks fill out their latest release entitled You’re so Jaded. A record characterized by the band’s take on a timeless sound by early 90’s bands such as Lemonheads and Teenage Fanclub. This record brings you back to an era of fuzz-stomping power chords, sing-along choruses and memories of tuning in to your radio for the latest in alt rock hits. An era of flannels and faded jeans, spent hanging out with friends and going to rock shows at the local club or the neighbor’s basement.
This record is a slight departure from the band’s previous release. While 2017’s Total Hell characterized them as indie pop darlings with supherb hooks and fun guitar jangle, this heavier direction feels like an equally good fit for them. Perhaps it’s the addition of new drummer Justin Grabosky that’s given them a little bit more spring in their step. Either way this was a positive direction for the band.
“I’ll See You at Home” bashes in with crunching guitars and an infectious chorus, a style repeated in the nostalgic “Pink Lite” and the poppy “Out on the Balcony”. Their lyrics glide at the edge of esoteric and relatable, leaving the listeners free to interpret it to their own thoughts while the music provides a clear emotional baseline.
Although this record leans on the grungier side, the band is still adept at illustrating their softer themes and ideas. The cleverly titled “So Much for the Quiet Car” is relaxing slow burn with more reliance on clean guitar riffs. The same can be said for “Post-Neurotic”, which has a fancy swirling guitar chorus that swells like a stained glass decor. In it the band outlines feelings of vulnerability, regret and mental struggles. “Phlox” combines their loud and soft dynamics into a tight package, where they blend their heaviest distortion with a love song, creating an interesting contrast of emotions.
The album ends with “Dyson Sphere”, which is textbook power pop at its finest. The song follows its narrator through their struggles in a relationship that has gone south while providing wonderful melodies and intertwining riffs that can set hearts ablaze. Joy Cleaner follows in the path of a much loved genre that has defined decades, and there’s not many bands currently out there who can do it better.