Today: Jun 25, 2024

Music Review: The Joy Formidable – Wolf’s Law

Savannah Mul – Opinions Editor

The Joy Formidable

Wolf’s Law


The Welsh trio that makes up The Joy Formidable is Ritzy Bryan on vocals and guitar, Rhydian Dafydd on bass and Matt Thomas on drums. This band is not scared to get crazy on stage or on their recordings. For anyone who has seen them, live Bryan’s eyes will become wide and mesmerized while her and her fellow band members go completely insane. They will throw stuffed animal cats into the crowd and bang on large bongs ‘till they fall over. Wolf’s Law is their second studio album after Big Roar. This band is all about the noise and this album shows all the different ways to create it.

“This Ladder is Ours” – The introduction to this song sets a tone for this record. First with soft, sorrow-like instrumental melodies, which slowly turn into suspense, horror build-up that than climaxes into drum and guitar riffs that make up The Joy Formidable. Bryan’s swaying vocals will motivate the listener to do nothing but get up and dance. The harmonizing in the chorus between Bryan, Dafydd and Thomas add an interesting echo-like sound to the song as well. With “This Ladder is Ours” introducing the record, it opens up all the different sounds and possibilities that this band explores in all their songs on this record. With Bryan singing, “This is where it all begins…” in multiple verses in this song, it only sets up the listener to do nothing but finish listening to this record. And in the end, you sure will be glad you did so.

“Cholla” – Once the opening verse introduces this song, the first 30 seconds reminds me of the guitar chords in “She is Beautiful” by Andrew W.K., which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It works for this song. The drumbeat is very strong, which only emphasizes the lyrics of this song; of nothing coming easy in life and how to grow even with obstacles in the way. Cholla has many meanings, one of them being a form of a cactus. After viewing the music video of the trio stationed right in the middle of a desert, it might be emphasizing hardships in life. The listener might think the song is over after the soft symbols ring in, but any true Joy Formidable fan knows this would be a build up into something fantastic.  The last two minutes of the song could be an awakening moment for some and Bryan’s vocals become louder and haunting. The abrupt, tight ending brings each instrument together in the end.

“Tendons” – The listener is introduced to a heavy bass line with Bryan’s soft vocals. Instead of using the phrase, ‘body’ they describe it with using ‘tendons.’ They use an echoing effect in this song as well, which is done successfully through the first half of the song. When you hit the two-minute mark, the song introduces symbols and Bryan’s vocals are soft whispers. A tight drumroll then picks up the speed, which makes it seem like a different kind of “love anthem.”

“Little Blimp” – The song starts off with might seem as if The White Stripes influenced it. It keeps time using the same guitar and drum beats throughout the beginning half of the song. But the trio keeps it interesting in this song, changing the guitar chords and drumbeat so it isn’t that constant G-chord beat.

“Bats” – Bryan starts this song with only her voice as the main instrument. She is then joined with Dafydd and Thomas, who play heavy bass lines and distinct loud drum rolls. Bryan’s voice stays constant throughout the whole song, seeming like she is in conversation with you, constantly repeating the phrase, “We keep hanging on,” which relates to the song title perfectly.

“Silent Treatment” – The record slows down with this song, with Bryan singing this one solo, it’s beautiful. The song really shows her strengths as a singer and what more she has yet to give back in the musical world.

“Maw Maw Song” – This song most definitely has a Led Zeppelin influence, where they play a similar riff and during those heavy riffs, all the band members are singing – or “mawing”- along. It’s a dream-like song that creates an oriental like atmosphere with their echoing “mawing” and soft guitar rhythms towards the end of the song. It is better explained if you grab headphones and blast it as loud as your eardrums can withstand.

“Forest Serenade” – If you are searching for something that could have been on their first studio album, The Big Roar, this is the song. Bryan really stretches her vocals in this song and the listener can truly see the range of her vocals in this melody. Plus, the two minutes of this song are totally rocking that you can’t help but get up and dance crazily.

The Leopard and the Lung” – For anyone who has seen this band live, you will know that this band is all about the noise, and this song proves it. This melody combines all the elements that are Joy Formidable. From their loud and heavy instrumentals, then to their soft, haunting sound.

“The Hurdle” – Like the previous song, it’s all about the noise for this band. This is another track that is like their work on Big Roar and is done and mastered successfully.

“The Turnaround” – There are only two bands who in the last 10 years wrote and executed a successful 10-minute song. First was Something Corporate with “Konstantine” and now it’s The Joy Formidable with this melody, which is the final song on Wolf’s Law. Again, it’s one of those songs where you just have to grab the headphones or stereo and play this one as loud as possible. An orchestra-like serenade makes up half of the song and you might think the song is over at the four and a half minute mark, but the minute of silence is intentional—it’s far from over. This is one of my favorite Joy Formidable songs because of the piano chords. At first it starts with soft piano notes, but soon escalates into the loud noise, which is this band.

5 out of 5 owls

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