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The Joy Formidable

titel:   The Big Roar
label:   Canvasback /ADA / Warner
v.ö.:   25.02.2011
format:   CD


"we've seen rock's future, and it's Welsh, blond and has a drummer so badass he makes Keith Moon sound like your Mom playing Rock Band." (Rolling Stone US 2010)

That The Joy Formidable’s debut album,‘The Big Roar’, opens with the 7 minute 45 second ever moving crescendo towards a white out that is ‘The Ever Changing Spectrum Of A Lie’ lays bare the sheer ambition of a band who have achieved everything so far on their own terms. By turns completely uncompromising and immediately gripping, ‘The Big Roar’ is the first chapter proper from The Joy Formidable to follow 2009’s précis that was ‘A Balloon Called Moaning’.

It’s all about scope. To look beyond a horizon and imagine what is over the brow. The Joy Formidable, at least the original beating heart of the band, Ritzy Bryan and Rhyddian Daffyd, grew up in the wilds of North Wales, an epic, gothic landscape of scarred hills and lush greenery, a paradise changed where wondering what was just over the hill is a natural reaction to such immense surroundings. The world can seem to go on forever in such places.

It’s all about ambition. That both Ritzy and Rhyddian escaped this supposed rural idyll, initially together to investigate the outside world of alternative music via the legendary Buckley Tivoli, and then separately to see the wider world, Ritzy to Washington DC and Rhyddian to Manchester, tells you much about the two driving influences on the sound of the band that they would eventually form on being reunited.

The Joy Formidable’s music can veer from the ethereal pulse of ‘The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade’, to the smash and grab blitzkrieg of ‘Cradle’, propelled by the greatest strict rhythm since The Sex Pistols ‘Holiday In The Sun’. From the metallic clang of Ritzy’s guitars on ‘Austere’ to the oozing sensuality of ‘Whirring’, that clash between the wide open spaces of their birthplace and the throbbing, dark pulses and buzz of the city stand at the heart of the quite unique soundscape that The Joy Formidable have created.

The live environment is where The Joy Formidable were born, those early visits to Buckley Tivoli giving Ritzy and Rhyddian an exposure to a world of bands divorced from their day to day surroundings, another glimpse over the brow. From their early talked about shows to this year’s headline slot on the NME Radar Tour, the band have continued to push themselves sonically and emotionally, shows descending into waves of noise to reappear on the crest of a melody, thunderous drums dropping to sheer edge stops, an intense, emotional, yet uplifting experience.

The facts stand in contrast to the aesthetic pulse at the heart of the trio, human dynamo and arguably the most watchable drummer since Dave Grohl, Matt Thomas having joined the band prior to the string of singles, ultimately compiled on the self released mini album, ‘A Balloon Called Moaning’, that set their star into initial orbit in 2009.
Driven by their belief and unwilling to let the grass grow under them in a world that can often be described as ‘sluggish’ at best, Ritzy, Rhyddian and Matt took their destiny in their hands, self recording, producing and mixing their tracks in their bedroom for release whilst touring repeatedly, in the process building a die hard fanbase that grew exponentially as the wider public became increasingly aware by old fashioned word of mouth.

That old fashioned approach received a more modern kick when a debut show in New York lit a fire that flared into a blaze visible across the Atlantic on a second visit. Canvasback Records ended the era of DIY for the band and allowed the budget to see Rich Costey mix the tracks that form ‘The Big Roar’, due for release in February of 2011.

Between the band and the feted producer / mixer the apex of The Joy Formidable’s current ambitions can be heard throughout the album. The one/two of the propulsive singles ‘I Don’t Want To See You Like This’ and ‘Austere’ balancing the epic opener and the noise crescendo that finishes (in all senses) the buzz and whizz of sheer noise pop that is ‘Cradle’. Across ‘The Big Roar’, The Joy Formidable dispense with the concept of genre, drawing inspiration from the attack of heavy metal and the experimentalism of ambient music in equal measure; ultimately transcending both to create a new loud / quiet dynamic for a new decade.

But this is no po faced music for audiophiles. The Joy Formidable in some ways remain those two teenagers at The Buckley Tivoli, with their new mate, immersed in the pleasure of making music to translate to others, Ritzy’s frequent forays into the crowd, the smashed guitars and the grins that fire from under her fringe on stages across Europe, the US and Australia over 2010 really encapsulate what The Joy Formidable are and what ‘The Big Roar’ represents; the sheer thrill of it all.





Bandbesetzung:
   

Ritzy Bryan (Vocals / Guitar)
Rhydian Daffyd (Bass)
Matt Thomas (Drums)



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