Joy on Fire release their new LP of Jazz / Punk fusion
The eclectic New Jersey jazz punk outfit Joy on Fire have just released their new album States of America, which takes the saxophone-lead psychedelic rock sound of Anna Meadors and John Paul Carillo to new heights with the inclusion of frontman Dan Gutstein’s sardonic spoken word lyrics.
The style of Joy On Fire has some similarities to current post-punk acts like Protomartyr, Viagra Boys, or Sleaford Mods, but with an increased focus on free-wheeling jazz improvisation and experimental song structures. Dan’s lyrics throughout the LP are often political in nature despite their somewhat esoteric bent, frequently dealing with incredibly heavy and pressing topics – from album opener “Uh Huh” directly confronting the horrors of gun violence to more general examinations of urban gentrification and social media narcissism on “Weekday Ave” and “Selfies” – but this album is far from a pompous, self-serious lecture about the state of the world today. As John puts it “Dan’s lyrics often have a great sense of humor and playfulness; but they can turn on you, and become quite serious.”
The album’s title, States of America gives away this album’s mission in its multiple meanings: pointedly removing the word “United” and also indicating Dan’s desire to get to the bottom of the “States” of America – “The condition we’re in as a nation. Sickness, among other things… The confusing jangle of news, social media, and celebrity worship”. But as righteously angry as Dan is throughout many points of the album, he avoids ever approaching the issues from a holier than thou perspective either. As he puts it – “I think a lot of the lyrics return to love dynamics, or rather the unusual rifts between people who are trying to connect with one another… So, for all the anger we may feel toward gun-toting killers and the aggravation we feel for yuppies wearing “cute t-shirts,” we are also acknowledging interpersonal imperfections, the ‘doublings-back,’ the startling admissions”
States of America is out now on streaming platforms.