The Joy Formidable sound like Mew would if Siouxsie Sioux turned up at a rehearsal, kicked Jonas Bjerre in the nads, told him to do one, then turned to the rest of the band and got them to turn the goddamn volume up or she’d do the same to them.
More shockingly, they aren’t even Swedish, instead hailing from Wales. Their debut Big Roar opens with the sort of song that doesn’t know it’s beaten, but instead, keeps rising off the canvas, bloodied and bruised, to swing more desperate punches. “The Everchanging Spectrum Of A Lie” just doesn’t know when to stop, and in this case, that’s a good thing. After all, if you haven’t got quite enough bombast and crescendos and stuff, just chuck a couple more in for good measure. In lesser hands this might come across as needy or attention-seeking, but this lot have it nailed. Singer/guitarist Ritzy Bryan wails impassionedly that “Can’t you see I’m good?” in a brief hiatus from the noise before another huge squall envelops you. Excellent stuff.
In case you might worry that the rest of the album doesn’t quite match up to such a dramatic opener, along comes “The Magnifying Glass”, prefaced with some lunatic laughter, destined to ignite mosh pits in student unions the length and breadth of the UK. Then single “I Don’t Want To See You Like This”, with its remarkably catchy chorus, thunders out of the traps like a velociraptor with anger management issues. To be truthful, after a few songs you feel like a sit down and a nice cup of tea, but maybe that’s just me. Those of an energetic persuasion should find much to love on this record. They remind me, and I mean this in a good way, believe it or not, of early Placebo. There’s that sense of desperation, of urgency, of absolute, huge, overpowering yearning. This is A Good Thing, even if you doubt the Placebo reference.
For a trio, they have an amazing ability to make an absolutely HUGE noise, not unlike obvious reference points like Husker Du and Nirvana. I forsee them supporting Biffy Clyro in the near future, and going down a storm. Good luck to ’em.