Review: Amo Joy, Self-titled 

*****
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Amo Joy
Amo Joy
Co-released through People in a Position to Know, Gutterth Records, Gray Sky Micro Press and TheWonderBox.com

Two years in the making, this fifth album from Bloomington's Amo Joy was halted in the middle of the recording process when bassist Paul Cobb passed away in the same week that he was scheduled to record his tracks. Everything stopped.

But soon enough, they were making music again. The band took inspiration from friends and family to complete the album, with Paul's father, Don Cobb, mastering the record at Independent Mastering in Nashville.

Despite enduring what must have been a grueling period of mourning and an exhausting recording process, singer Adam Gross, drummer Steve Trowbridge, bassist Paul Cobb and keyboardist James Furness have created another album of thick, quirky lyricism, compellingly original vocal style and generally upbeat psychedelic pop. This album, though, seems to share a hint of darkness that Amo Joy hasn't worn on their sleeves before. These moments of despair are brief and leave the positive vibes contained in the remainder of the album to sweep the listener back up into the groove.

In this self-titled release the band is playfully aloof while tackling subjects like the greed of oil corporations in "Deepwater Horizon" and spiritual cynicism on "Heaven," an detached but concerned attitude that's signature of Amo Joy. Around the four key members playing are feature spots for brass, noisemakers and toy pianos, making for an eclectic mix of aural joy - also an Amo Joy signature. Though its makeup is similar to past releases, this album is more compelling because it contains a more balanced dynamic, tighter songwriting and stronger playing.

Their self-titled record will be released on Saturday, June 15 at Radio Radio with performances from Everything Now!, DMA and a DJ set from Mr. Kinetic. Tickets are $5 or $10 with the vinyl album. Doors open at 8 p.m., show starts at 9 p.m. 1119 Prospect St., 21+

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