The Joy Formidable - The Big Roar (Cover Artwork)

The Joy Formidable

The Big Roar (2011)


Though these Welsh rockers may be a new name to us here in The States, they've been making huge waves over on their continent, releasing a handful of singles and EPs, a live disc and even having shared the stage with Sir Paul McCartney. Quicky becoming a word-of-mouth sensation, the band's debut mini-LP, A Balloon Called Moaning was cited by Spin magazine as one of the 10 Best Records You Might Have Missed in 2010. This, their much-anticipated followup, is available today on this side of the Atlantic (via Atlantic), and sees the Joy Formidable loosening up their sound some and delivering loud, anthemic walls of crashing guitars and irresistible hooks that leave you wondering how a mere trio could make something so booming, majestic and grand in scope.

While the Joy Formidable have their roots deeply embedded in shoegazing, dreamy indie pop, The Big Roar takes those influences and buries them under frantic, powerful and buzzing guitar work that mirrors arena rock thundering. Showing more depth to their sound than most stadium rock outfits, the band also mix haunting ballads, garage rock thumping and songs that build from a faint pulse into epic, soaring textured noise with sultry yet powerful female vocals. Imagine the big rock buzz of a band like Jimmy Eat World, but with the dirty fuzziness of Sonic Youth and influences from Echo & the Bunnymen and the Waterboys, and you'll get some idea of where the Joy Formidable are coming from.

Produced by the band themselves with the help of engineer Neak Menter and mixed and produced in L.A. by Rich Costey (Foo Fighters, Muse), the band are setting out on a lengthy tour of The States soon to bring The Big Roar live. Perhaps the most aptly titled record in recent history, there's no doubt these songs were meant to be played at max volume, and after three years in the making, this debut full-length is a stunning display of powerful riffage, big choruses and punchy pop melodies. A band whose objective is to create loud and catchy music, to say the Joy Formidable achieved this would be a huge understatement. This thing is massive.