This will be the first and last time this preview says “kazoo.”
The instrument’s prominent placement in every Amo Joy! song has led reviewers, journalists and hacks alike to saddle the band with descriptions that belittle the band’s dynamism, and deny them accurate assessment of their sound. It’s an accessory, not a way of life.
The band draws on some of the same circus-tent revivalism that The Flaming Lips helped popularize and fellow Indy band Everthus the Deadbeats have incorporated into their sound, but transcends it with ’60s baroque pop and ’90s alternative rock influences.
Singer/songwriter Adam Gross started the band in 2007 in Indianapolis. At the time, he wrote most of the songs by himself on acoustic guitar and arranged the music around it. As a result, the band’s early recordings had a muted, repressed feel.
With its new recording, Theophrastus Bombastus, the band tries to capture a more vibrant energy.
“It’s a little more electric, a little more aggressive,” Gross said. “It took us a little while to get there live.”
But the biggest change came as a result of the growing cohesion of the band. Time can do wonders for a young band, and it did wonders for Amo Joy!
“This album is a lot more collaborative,” Gross said. “We worked things out together a lot more than the last one.”
The band’s second full-length, Theophrastus Bombastus, is a collection of lo-fi Kinks and Zombies-esque pop. Many of these songs sound like they could have come straight from The Kinks’ classic Village Green Preservation Society.
Recorded in various houses to four-track, Theophrastus has the insular feel of any lo-fi album, but manages to sound well-produced. That balance serves Amo Joy! well.