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Album review: Little Joy's debut

November 3, 2008 |  4:55 pm

Littlejoy_2 Little Joy, a new band featuring the Strokes' drummer Fabrizio Moretti with Binki Shapiro and Rodrigo Amarante, is named after an Echo Park bar notorious for encouraging countless lost weekends among the neighborhood's coterie of musicians. So it's fitting that the band's debut album of slight and easygoing Caribbean-indie seems tailor-made for easing a tousle-headed rocker out of a Sunday afternoon hangover.

"Little Joy's" pleasures are appropriately small and fleeting, but there are plenty of them. There's a bit of Devendra Banhart's assimilated Tropicalia on "No One's Better Sake," and Amarante's crooner's tenor is wrapped in a fuzzy Buddy Holly reverb that makes the record feel like an unexpected crate-digging find.

For such an unassuming album, the production is unexpectedly crafty. The band sneaks bits of doo-wop harmonies and odd percussion in the margins that can be enjoyed or ignored at your leisure.

Little Joy's charmingly lazy songwriting makes no gesture at becoming anything beyond an excellent dinner-party soundtrack. But in these trying times for art and political life, such warm-hearted mood music will at least make your headaches go away.

--August Brown

Little Joy
"Little Joy"
Rough Trade
Two and a half stars

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