The Joy Formidable: “This Ladder Is Ours”

The Big Roarthe Joy Formidable’s 2011 debut–ended up being aptly titled. Not only were the songs loud and brash, but the album proved to be a pretty big hit, both in the band’s native UK and here in the States. It’s rare to find an outfit so fully-formed on its first recording. That’s possibly due to the band members’ extensive history in other groups. Vocalist/guitarist Ritzy Bryan and bassist Rhydian Dafydd have performed together for over a decade, and their personal history dates back to their childhood days spent in Wales.

The Joy Formidable first formed in 2007, making tentative stabs in the early years with a few singles and shows around Great Britain. On the strength of their live concerts, the trio was picked up by the venerable Atlantic Records and released The Big Roar in early 2011. Buoyed by the epic “Whirring,” the album solidified what everyone seemed to be saying about the Joy Formidable: this band rocks. The songs are always at maximum volume and energy–drummer Matt Thomas doesn’t shy away from using a double-kick, not unlike a lot of metal drummers–but underneath the sheer bigness of everything lies a beating melodic heart. The hooks are straight out of the pop playbook, only submerged in a storm of noise.

January 22 sees the release of Wolf’s Law, the Joy Formidable’s sophomore follow-up. To write the record, Bryan and Dafydd holed up in tiny Casco, Maine in the dead of winter. “It snowed every day and the surroundings and the solitude gave us a different level of intensity,” says Bryan, and Wolf’s Law navigates this divide between peace and chaos with ease. Album opener “This Ladder Is Ours” proves that bliss can be found in the most disparate places. In the Joy Formidable’s world, seclusion and togetherness get their spots in the sun.

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