The Joy Formidable - Wolf's Law
The Joy Formidable’s ambitions towards the gorging, gorgeous maximum, the evident end-goal of 2011’s The Big Roar, are matched in force by panoramic production this time around, evidenced by the epic multitude of strings on final track ‘Turnaround’ undoubtedly going some way to fulfilling their most Use Your Illusion of musical dreams. Unfortunately, with this outward reach the heart of the band, and particularly Ritzy Bryan’s vocals, get somewhat lost in the mix, struggling to be heard amongst the tides of orchestration and polish. This is particularly striking when it becomes quite clear the songs themselves strike out on a similar prog-pop territory and structure to their debut The Big Roar, and for all the appeal of the hugeness on display, it is the moments of directness, the very distilled essence of the band, that are still their main strength. The brute force of ‘Cholla’ and ‘The Leopard and the Lung’ (which captures some of ‘Whirring’s chiming brilliance) are the kind of hefty chunks of guitar-music, delivered with power and panache and coming to a festival near you, that could reignite that particular flame in the popular sphere. Here’s hoping.