Maximum Joy I Can't Stand It Here On Quiet Nights Silent Street

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Before trip-hop, jungle and dubstep, Bristol already had a strong heritage of unusual variations on musical phenomena in the heady post-punk years – just look at the sonic chaos of bands such as The Pop Group and Rip Rig + Panic. Maximum Joy were a product of this wildly creative environment in the early 80s, but for all their daring qualities, they were a far more approachable concern.

Chris Farrell, of Bristol’s record shop and label Idle Hands, and Blackest Ever Black’s Kiran Sande recognised the brilliance of this seminal band, even naming their new label after one of the finest songs Maximum Joy ever recorded. In line with this declaration of affection, the first release on Silent Street is a collection of the singles Maximum Joy released on Y Records between 81 and 83, and it opens with the haunting perfection of Silent Street (Silent Dub).

Janine Rainforth’s vocals never sounded better than on this beguiling ode to the quiet hours between the hurried pace of city life, floating out atop dubby bass, off-key piano stabs and straining brass. Elsewhere, Rainforth could be raucous on punk party-starter Stretch, and sweetly uplifting on In The Air. The emotional range of Maximum Joy was surely one of their greatest strengths, and this collection gives you every shade of their impeccable repertoire.

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