Review Revue: Pure Joy - Carnivore

This is some serious late eighties/early nineties Seattle pop royalty here. If you’ve lived in Seattle and paid attention to music here at all, you’ve likely heard the names Flop and Rusty Willoughby spoken with hushed reverence (or childish glee). Pure Joy was Rusty’s band before (and after) the better-known Flop. As far as I can tell this album was the first LP they released, via the legendary local label PopLlama - the home of many local heroes, including Fastbacks, Nevada Bachelors, The Posies, The Walkabouts, Young Fresh Fellows, and more.

The chronology of Pure Joy’s releases is somewhat confusing. From my brief internet research, it looks as though the LP Unsung was recorded before Carnivore, but Carnivore was the first album they released to the public. There was also an early, self-titled EP in there somewhere. It seems Pure Joy broke up shortly after this album’s release (see below), but then reunited after Flop -- well, flopped (sorry). This may have been the band’s first official release, but it’s clear they were already a known quantity in the halls of KCMU.


“As I understand it, this is a re-release of the cassette they put out in ’89. Drummer Andy has since left the group. They used to remind me of the Church & Teardrop Explodes; now they remind me of the Buzzcocks (a lot).”

“I play on Holocaust. -- Craigstor (Thanks for the credit, guys. The suit’s in the mail.)”

“You won’t have to worry, Craig. They’ve broken up (1/8/90). RIP.”

“Rusty has a new group called Flop w/Nate Johnson (J. Kline’s groups) & Bill (ex Chem Set).”

“‘Condition’ is a red dot. It took 40 days in H for someone to find it, which shows you how much people are playing this.”

“Can we help it if this is junk?”

“Oh, you wank, Dave -- this is fine, crunchy, guitar pop and I’ll be playing it for a long, long time.”

“Lisa King is the best bass player in Seattle.”

“Correction -- David House is the only bass player in Seattle.”

“2/15 Move ‘er down.”

“‘This Condition’ isn’t a red dot after all.”

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