tb-two* photo galleries
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Just about everyone knows someone who has been bullied, in ways big and small. Understandably, though, many victims are reluctant to speak about their experiences. We found some who aren't.
When I saw the Joy Formidable at 97X Next Big Thing 2011, I was only watching because Young the Giant was next. Though my attention wasn’t really on them, two years later I can still recall their energy. They seemed like a hard-core punk band minus the scary factor at NBT, but when I went back recently and listened to the recordings, Joy didn’t really seem to fit into that category anymore.
The Welsh group’s second full-length album is a transition into a more diverse sound. Wolf’s Law balances the hard punk guitar and drums with more layering and fresh melodies. Ritzy Bryan, the strong lead vocalist and guitarist, is the epitome of a strong rocker. She owns it, with star quality that will someday move her from being the opening act for Muse to being the headliner. Her voice moves with ease from whispery to unrelentingly loud.
This Ladder Is Ours stole my heart before I could even hit replay, a heavenly mix of rock and soft pop. The ending and beginning couldn’t be better, reeling you in for a memorable experience. The guitar melody is ridiculously catchy and just screams perfection.
Cholla takes a harsher approach and reminds me more of the vibes I got at Next Big Thing. It is a head bobber for sure, and the combination of all the sassy aspects that make up the Joy Formidable is in full force. Strong vocals, heavy drums and dominating guitar come together for one of the most enjoyable punk-rock-ish songs I’ve ever heard.
The album continues on this winning streak for about half, then slowly degrades. The rest of the songs aren’t bad, but they don’t stand a chance against This Ladder Is Ours, Cholla and Tendons. Perfect for a chill sesh before bed, this music will wear you out and suck the energy from you, but in the best way possible.
The Joy Formidable is bound for big crowds because a band with this much energy cannot go unnoticed. Wolf’s Law will leave you tired and content, satisfied and at peace with your inner rocker. We all have one, but if you haven’t discovered it yet, this album will do the trick.
HANNAH ELLIOTT, Robinson High