Maximum Joy

Reviews

Maximum Joy Stretch / Silent Street-Silent Dub 12″ reissue

This is a reissue of the classic 12″ single every avowed post-punk head should have in their bins. Formed from members of the classic Bristol bands GLAXO BABIES and the POP GROUP and fronted by the effervescent shouts and screams of Janine Rainforth, the group was a continuation of those two groups’ deep funk and dub roots. Scratchy guitar and a crisp upfront street-beat drum sound, it’s no surprise this was a co-release with 99 Records (NY label home to dance punk favorites ESG and LIQUID LIQUID). If you have an aversion to slap bass, this is definitely not for you, but the rest of us will keep the dancefloor warm for you til it’s over.

Maximum Joy Station M.X.J.Y. LP reissue

1982’s Station M.X.J.Y., one of the definitive statements in the lexicon of dubbed-out ’80s post-punk and the sole LP from Bristol’s MAXIMUM JOY, was reissued earlier this year because reality is truly cyclical (as is subcultural influence). A collaboration between an ex-POP GROUP guitarist, some former members of GLAXO BABIES, and teenage vocalist Janine Rainforth, MAXIMUM JOY lifted from many of the same primary sources as the other projects on their collective CVs, as well as their Y Records labelmates like the SLITS and PIGBAG—serrated post-punk, wobbly dub reggae, elastic funk, experimental jazz, etc. Janine’s ecstatic vocals, the fiery blasts of horns, and some scrabbling polyrhythms made their debut single (and arguably, best-known song) “Stretch” an all-time mutant disco banger, but given the long-playing format of Station M.X.J.Y., the band seized the opportunity to really dig into some simmering and often largely instrumental grooves. “Do It Today” and “Searching for a Feeling” hit closest to the frenetic punk-funk energy of “Stretch,” leaving the LP’s more drawn-out, slow-burning tracks like “Mouse an’ Me” or “Let It Take You There” to soundtrack the morning after the dancefloor. If you’ve enjoyed the contemporary update of this particular sound by bands like the WORLD and NAKED ROOMMATE and haven’t fully worked your way backward yet, now is the time!