The Anomoanon’s second offering of 2004, Joji is a decent enough album in the tradition of Neil Young, CSNY, and the Grateful Dead, etc, etc. Not that it’s a straight copy or anything, but the heavy influence is there, no mistake about it. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, mind you; it’s when Ned Oldham and Co. wear their influences on their sleeves that they shine most on this record. Songs like “Mr. Train” or “Green Sea”, with their multiple-part harmonies and jangly guitar, could make me smell the country air in the middle of downtown Toronto. It’s a good thing too, because the trod-through-the-mud of the opening song “Down and Brown” damn near ruins the record right from the get-go. Thankfully, the next four songs form the core of the album, and save it from what I thought would be certain doom. So be patient, OK?
Speaking of patience, the following two tracks, “Wedding love” and “Nowhere”, last a tad too long past the “OK, I get it” point. This is a minor complaint, though, about these otherwise solid songs. The last song, “Bird Child” closes the album on an upbeat note, in contrast to the brooding way the record begins, much to my liking. Joji, while not a masterpiece, is a perfectly capable bluesy roots-rock record that will probably make its way into the car stereo during a drive on a country highway, but to be honest, probably not as often into my stereo at home.