When it comes to Christian rock, I generally prefer to root for the other side, favoring those who still think of rock ‘n’ roll as the Devil’s music. But as Chicago pop-punk giants the Smoking Popes have proven, a great love song is a great love song, whether it’s addressed to God or a significant other, and while the Wheaton-based duo JoyFocus proudly heralds their beliefs, they’d don’t shove them down anyone’s throat.
“Yes, we believe in God and salvation through and only through the blood shed on the cross at Calvary,” they write on their Web site, www.joyfocus.com. “Yes, we ourselves are Christians. No, JoyFocus is not our ‘ministry,’ it’s our band. It is our preferred vocation and selected career path–nothing more. We are musicians, just like some people are librarians or waitresses.”
Fair enough, and a fine band multi-instrumentalist Rikk Currence and singer Holly Joy have got, as evidenced by the effervescent mix of modern synth-pop, vintage Queen orchestral bombast, the occasional Prince-like funk flourish and all-around melodic goodness on their third and latest indie album since 2001, “Cyber Suburban Electro Rock Circus.” That may be a lengthy title, but it also is an accurate description of the gleeful sounds streaming on the group’s Web site–and that’s the honest to God truth.