The Joy Formidable

The Joy Formidable

The Big Roar

Canvasback/Atlantic

4/5

Listening to the debut album from Welsh trio The Joy Formidable, you’ll think you’ve tuned into one of those ’90s rock channels on satellite radio. The guitars are cranked waaay up, the bass lines are fast and insistent and the drums have that forceful, echoing “thwock” that bring to mind college rock favorites of yore like the Pixies and Swervedriver. It’s sure not subtle, but it’s hard to deny the exhilaration of hearing a young band play with so much energy and conviction.

On songs like “I Don’t Want to See You Like This” and “Austere”, they prove they have the big melodies to match the bold sound.With front woman Ritzy Bryan’s commanding vocals and soaring riffs, it’s easy to picture her and the boys opening for U2 in some gigantic stadium in the near future. Hell, Bono might be quaking in his wee Irish boots when he gets a load of these kids.

Random Observations that Didn’t Make the Review:

As much as I like this band, I have to admit their name is a little pretentious-sounding. If I were recommending them to a friend, I’d probably be like, “Oh, you should check out the band Joy (cough, cough).”

The song, “Austere”, seems very influenced by late period Pixies. I kept hearing Dave Lovering’s drumming and Kim Deal’s bass playing style on this track.

I’m not crazy about the Joy Formidable’s music videos (from what I’ve seen so far), but I still wanted to give you a taste of what they’re all about. The chorus of “I Don’t Want to See You Like This” gets me every time. It’s so arena-ready.

I didn’t notice this until after I had written the review, but one of their promo photos is very Joshua Tree-esque. These guys (and girl) are openly ambitious, which I kind of admire.

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