Formed in the mid 1980's, Pure Joy (originally the Dwindles) were heavily influenced by the UK's preeminent purveyors of new wave neo-psychedelia during that period, Teardrop Explodes (in fact taking their name from a Teardrop song) and to a lesser extent the post-punk Chameleons U.K. with whom they would eventually tour. It's their British musical influences that mostly defined the group's sound, setting them apart from their Seattle musical peers at the time.
Original members were Rusty Willoughby (songwriter, lead singer, guitar), Lisa King (bass), Jim Hunnicutt (drums, vocals), with Randy Willoughby (keyboards and album art) joining after the first EP. Eventually the group would pare down to the core of Willoughby and King, with Hunnicutt being replaced by Andy Davenhall (Sister Pyschic, Dodi, The Lawnmowers). Hunnicutt would reappear in 2015 as the drummer for Llama, Willoughby's group with bassist/vocalist Scott Sutherland (Chemistry Set) and Johnny Sangster (Tripwires, Neko Case, Mark Lanegan).
Pure Joy recorded their first self-released, eponymous EP in 1986, followed by the Unsung full-length in 1987 (with Craig Montgomery on guitar and keys), and the harder edged Popllama Records album Carnivore in 1988, foreshadowing Willoughby's transition to his '90s pop punk group Flop. Pure Joy disbanded after Carnivore but would eventually reform with the original rhythm section of King and Hunnicutt and release Getz, the Worm in 1998, before sequeing into a long and excellent series of Rusty Willoughby solo albums, the first of which also featured King and Hunnicutt.