Idolator’s Good Friday Christian-Rock Tribute: Joy Electric

Mar 21st, 2008 // 8 Comments

wearethemusicmakers.jpgI’ll take any excuse to write about Christian rock, it seems, but Good Friday is probably the tackiest yet. Nonetheless, I’d like to take a moment to pay tribute to the strange genius of Christian alternative music, Ronnie Martin, and his synthpop project, Joy Electric.

Ronnie has been around the strange business of Christian music since the early 1990′s, performing in the Blonde Vinyl act Dance House Children with his brother Jason (now of the band Starflyer 59, which has its own obsessive following). Following the break up of Dance House Children, Ronnie took the only reasonable artistic route: He wrote an album of synthpop tunes about candy and fairytales as one of the first acts on Tooth and Nail Records, a label now better known for churning out dozens of largely identical emo acts, but then still somewhat cool. His first album, Melody, was released in 1994, and Ronnie has since turned out album after album of decidedly strange but brilliant synthesizer-pop. If Joy Electric were a secular act releasing music on cassette only, Ronnie Martin would be hailed as an outsider genius, but with the “Christian” tag permanently affixed, he remains a nice guy with a regular job who happens to have a huge discography of his own. His video collection is a little meager, since Tooth and Nail seems to spend their money elsewhere in most cases, but here are a few selections for your enjoyment.

From my favorite album, We Are The Music Makers, “Burgundy Years”:

Red Will Dye These Snows of Silver:

Song For All Time:

and Ronnie from the movie Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music?:

Joy Electric [Official site]

  1. Tenno

    Sweet. I’ll check that album out, I liked it.

  2. NedRaggett

    I like Joy Electric, they and Starflyer 59 are a cut above some of the usual out there (and it’s out there…too much).

    But! I’m kinda way surprised you didn’t mention Mr. Martin’s latest project, since their album Stop Heartbeat is just now out — the Foxglove Hunt.

    (This all said, I strongly encourage folks who like these guys to check out Mission Giant and Revolution 9, who I like even more, etc..)

  3. Dan Gibson

    @NedRaggett: I like the Foxglove Hunt quite a bit, but I wanted to stay focused, you know?

  4. Lieutenant 030

    “I’ll take any excuse to write about Christian rock” — why?

  5. so1omon

    @NedRaggett: Foxglove Hunt is spectacular, but it’s not really a Ronnie project in the normal sense. It’s Rob Withem, formally of Fine China’s gig, and Ronnie helps with drums and some sequencing.

    Now, a mention of The Brothers Martin record might have been in order. Jason and Ronnie together again made all the Chrindie kids squeal, in spite of not really being all that good.

  6. ObtuseIntolerant

    @Lieutenant 030: Aww, don’t hate. I’ve only recently come to the genre. I am not at all religious…but I consider it ethnic music, for my purposes.

  7. BigMoose

    I’ve seen him play live a few times, and although he’s not fond of it, it’s still a lot of fun.

  8. Dan Gibson

    @Lieutenant 030: Because it irritates people like you?

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