The Big Roar - The Joy Formidable Album Review
We're barely twenty days into a new year and already music-critics are dropping their collective trousers faster than squaddies in a nightclub bog, eager to inseminate their audience with collective carnal and critical joy, whilst patting their collective backs like successful salmon bounding up a Cumbrian waterfall. Yep, it's the phenomena known as 'the sound of 2011' or, more accurately, 'what you need to buy to keep HMV in business and NME's readership awake'.
In the case of The Joy Formidable, the yanking, expending and general hoo-haaing is justified - "The Big Roar" IS going to be in a few end-of-year lists, it WILL probably get tupped for a Mercury Music Prize and the band WILL end up being interviewed by Sunday-supplement magazines, possibly for their favourite cookie recipes. Why? Because it IS a bloody good album.
Atlantic Records, a label not too synonymous with signing failures, believes that the intense swirling dervish rhetoric of this stunning ensemble is worth investing in. I cannot disagree. "The Big Roar" is exactly that. Powerful pop-songs laced in feedback, balls and melody makes for a spot-on recipe and "Buoy" is one of them - tumultuous riffs and neck-cracking beats set the scene, with weirdy bird-song noises a-plenty.
Album-opener "The Ever Changing Spectrum Of A Lie", is unlikely to become an X-Factor rendition for some acne-flaked grim-throat from Luton, any time soon. Nor is stomp-fest "Cradle" which sounds like it might soon accompany a BBC ident for a documentary about some rare animals. "I Don't Want To See You Like This" is probably unlikely to soundtrack Goal Of The Month on Match Of The Day, unless we cock up the World Cup again. Which we will - so it will. I look forward to it.
If you have any doubts as to how melodic, relentless and latent this band is, check out the closing song "The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade". You can hear and see venues bumping up to this and we all love a bit of spine-tingling feedback-filled rocking out, right? Remaining songs are, for the most part, highly memorable, energetic and even reminiscent of previous spiky female-fronted acts such as Yeah Yeah Yeahs, My Bloody Valentine and Lush.
"The Big Roar" is an apt title for an album that mixes squally bursts of feedback deviance and hard-nosed pop-chops in equal measure. A formidable and rather joyous noise indeed that is sure to translate into a 'live' experience very well - bring the noise on.
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