Picks and Pans Review: Son of Samiam
You probably don't know the four members of Too Much Joy, but you certainly know of them. They were the delinquents who called drugstores to see if they had Sir Walter Raleigh in a can and if so, why not let him out? In other words, these joy boys never met a whoopee cushion they didn't like. In real life they might be obnoxious, but luckily they found rock and roll. Son of Sam I Am, a major-label reissue of their 1988 second album (with three new songs) is smart-ass rock at its very best.
The musicianship is basic, catchy garage-rock sloppiness, taking cues from such bands as the Replacements and the Ramones. Lyrics aren't sung so much as they escape from the throat. Guitars and drums thrash around, competing for supremacy. But with Too Much Joy it's the words that count. What other band could get away with a song like "Making Fun of Bums," in which a guy does just that and gets kicked out of his folks' house because it was a "bad karma thing to do"? If you still don't get the picture, just imagine what Bart Simpson will be like when he grows up and gets a guitar. (Giant/Alias/Warner Bros.)