The Tick Tock Treasury by Joy Electric (Review)

While still a magnificent feast for the ears, every song on The Tick Tock Treasury reminds me of past Joy Electric albums.
The Tick Tock Treasury, Joy Electric

The ever-pregnant Ronnie Martin has once again pushed and sweated hard on his creative hospital bed, giving birth to another wide-eyed baby. Looking at it, I can’t help but admire its many qualities. Yet something tells me that it is no different than Ronnie’s other children, not possessing any features to make it stand out as new or groundbreaking. Yes, it is a wonderful creation, but very familiar.

Such is the case with The Tick Tock Treasury, the new album from Joy Electric. Here, Martin has supplied, as usual, a batch of bubbly, electronic fairytale songs, many of them quite catchy and lovely. There’s the opening title track, which could just be the most perfected pop song Martin has written, followed by “Misfortune’s Apprentice,” another great melody. Both of these tracks sound like they’d be right at home on Robot Rock, aside from the obvious, delicately crafted work that has been put into them.

“Saint Glockenspiel Science Faire,” another catchy tune, almost had me singing the lyrics from “The Girl From Rosewood Lane.” It has such a simple, happy sound to it that I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a lost track from Melody, Joy Electric’s 1994 debut. Some of the darker songs, such as “C Minor Miners,” remind me of We Are the Music Makers, while the popular “(I Am) Made From the Wires” sounds like something Martin might have written after completing some of The White Songbook’s more uptempo numbers.

While still a magnificent feast for the ears, every song on The Tick Tock Treasury reminds me of past Joy Electric albums. Maybe this is exactly what Martin was trying to do, creating a beautiful collage of all his sounds and ideas into one album, which it certainly is. But something tells me Ronnie could learn a lesson from his brother Jason, who, as pilot of Starflyer 59, has never ceased to explore new possibilities with his sound. I have a feeling that Joy Electric could go further and that someday, years from now, Ronnie Martin could create something truly spectacular, unlike anything anyone has ever heard before.

Until then, most should be content with this offering. For those who have never heard the synthetic, brilliant genius that is Joy Electric, The Tick Tock Treasury could be the perfect place to start.

One noteworthy song, “The Chronometers of Switzerland,” is an instrumental that perfectly separates the album into two halves, not unlike “Kid A“ s “Treefingers.” I’ve always felt, particularly on “We Are The Music Makers,” that Martin needed more filler tracks in between his more complicated melodies. “Chronometers” satisfies that feeling nicely, making The Tick Tock Treasury a thoroughly easy album to listen to in one sitting. Nice job, Mr. Martin.

Written by Jeremy E. Nyhuis.