The Joy Formidable – Wolf’s Law
Buy: Wolf’s Law
It’s been two years since Welsh trio The Joy Formidable released their debut album The Big Roar. In that time their brand of hugely anthemic power-rock has seen them become the stadium support act of choice, with Muse and Foo Fighters enlisting them to gee up their crowds.
There’s only so long you can enjoy playing second fiddle, though, and with Wolf’s Law The Joy Formidable are looking beyond supporting other bands’ stadium tours and moving towards becoming a huge rock band in their own right. To do that they’ve made an album that’s even bigger in scope than their debut, but thankfully there’s enough invention to keep Wolf’s Law sounding interesting and dynamic, rather than bloated and over-produced.
‘This Ladder Is Ours’ sets the anthemic tone right away, with an incisive riff aggressively cutting through the orchestral intro – allowing Ritzy Bryan’s vocals to take control and guide the melody. ‘Cholla’ is of similar ilk, following the typical Joy Formidable formula of heavy riff, nice vocals, bit of a slowdown, then a heavier riff leading to a huge coda. It’s something they have become very effective at, and it makes for a great rocking experience when you’ve got the volume up LOUD.
Although their trademark sound is loud and anthemic, The Joy Formidable know that even though it may guarantee great live shows, it takes a bit more variation and subtlety to keep peoples attention throughout a whole album. ‘Tendon’ goes for a more melodic approach, ‘Little Blimp’ delays the inevitable sonic assault just long enough to keep the tension up and ‘Bats’ comes across as a scuzzy garage-rock song.
The best of the slight diversions is the madcap ‘Maw Maw Song’, a 7 minute long album centrepiece that brings a welcome dash of exploratory prog-rock to Wolf’s Law – complete with an enjoyably mental chorus.
It’s not a perfect album by any means, though. A few tracks stray into the ‘heard-it-all-before’ category. Most notably the turgid ‘Silent Treatment’ and the slightly predictable ‘Forest Serenade’. All in all though, it’s an enjoyable whirlwind of driving riffs, skyscraping melodies and HUGE choruses. In short, it’s exactly what you’d expect from a Joy Formidable album.