Album Review: The Joy Formidable

The Joy Formidable

Wolf’s Law

                This should come as a surprise to no one: The Joy Formidable have released another solid record.  The British trio of Rhiannon “Ritzy” Bryan (guitar and vocals), Rhydian Dafydd (bass and backing vocals), and Matthew Thomas (percussion and drums) has yet to release a bad record.  Wolf’s Law is a great mix of epic rock, lovely vocals, and twisting soundscapes.

The album opens with “This Ladder Is Ours” – a five minute and twelve second track that builds and builds to a wonderful chorus.  It’s also a good example of how ballsy this band is.  How many rock bands start a record with a track over five minutes long?  Not many, because not many can produce five-minute-plus openers this good.

Doubt me?  Well, the second track, “Cholla,” will stuff crow down your throat.  Dafydd’s bass is wicked in it, and Bryan attempts to blow the back of the stadium across the street with her guitar work on it.  Bryan signs just as beautiful as she plays on “Tendons” and “Silent Treatment.”

Just when you think the band has gone mellow on you, along comes Dafydd’s intro to “Little Blimp” and Thomas’ explosive percussion to back him.  When you’re able to put your face back on your head, you’ll be amazed by the track.  “Bats” might not be about winged creatures of the night, but it is bat shit crazy rock.  On it, Thomas seems to be taking out his frustration about a traffic jam he was in on the way to the studio on his drum kit.  “Maw Maw Song” is the Wolfmother track Andrew Stockdale wishes he’d written.  Bryan shreds so much on it that many lesser guitarists will hang up their axes after hearing her solo.  “Forest Serenade” is anything but pastoral, unless you were listening to it while charging over green English hills with a sword in your hand.

This band knows how to craft epic songs.  “The Leopard and the Lung” is nothing short of that.  It’s a six-minute journey off the planet.  It flows well into “The Hurdle,” which is anything but a stumbling block.  That flows even better in the last track, “The Turnaround,” which I can only describe as lovely.

I can’t recommend this band enough.  They are indeed formidable and will bring you much joy.  Don’t miss them.

Nik Havert is a writer, DJ at WSND 88.9FM University of Notre Dame, harmonica player, martial arts instructor, comic book publisher, crime fighter,music lover, cult movie enthusiast, and modern day Renaissance man. He hopes to shark cage dive sometime in the next few years and enjoys travel and good natural root beer. Visit his web site at

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