Review Revue: Band of Holy Joy - When Stars Came out to Play

Review Revue
12/12/2019
Levi Fuller

Welcome to Review Revue, where every Thursday I dig through the KEXP stacks to share DJ reviews and comments written on the covers of LPs (and occasionally CDs) in the ’80s and ’90s, when the station was called KCMU, the DJs were volunteers, and people shared their opinions on little white labels instead of the internet.


I have been waiting for the right time to share this particular album cover for more than a year and a half, and in that entire time it has not once occurred to me to just go ahead and listen to The Band of Holy Joy — or, in fact, learn the first thing about them. Well now the time has come, because I'm here writing this post, and damn! What a fantastic band! Which I could have heard at any time in the past 30-plus years but have totally slept on!

This particular live album (the 6th LP out of more than 20 in their decades-long career) is quite hard to track down online — though there is one tantalizing track available on YouTube — but I bet their entire catalog offers myriad delights and pleasures to the adventurous listener. You know why? Because I just went ahead and checked out Neon Primitives, the album they released in June 2019, and it knocked my socks off! That's right, I'm sitting here typing this with no socks, and it's all because of The Band of Holy Joy's new album. So if you're like me and you've been under a Holy Joy-less rock for the past 30-odd years, get with it, like the KCMU DJs of 1988!

"In all their warped wonder — they're back. Recorded live."

"It's great to hear those accents and brogue-y background — more honest than Waterboys. More like older Pogues."

"They've been around for some time — cool live . . ."

"The Clancy Bros. are an earlier Irish outfit whose songs are covered by this band and also by the Pogues according to one listener."

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