Thursday, November 17, 2011

Review catch up: The Joy Formidable - The Big Roar

Now I'm getting closer to forty, I often wonder what will happen to kids half my age when they form bands. When I was growing up in the 70's and 80's, my experience of mainstream music meant a lot of Wham, Billy Joel and various other miscreants - this wasn't stuff I chose to listen to, it was just always there. I always wondered what would happen to those kids who became musically aware as bands like Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead fleetingly became the mainstream. How would the bands of people with that musical education sound? My guess is that they're sound like the Joy Formidable. Taking the unabashed epic scope and ambition of the Smashing Pumpkins and Radiohead but toning down the angst and then filtering it through a modernist kaleidoscope, they sound like the logical conclusion of the 90's alternative promise. I don't think it's any mystery as to why they're supporting the Foo Fighters on their US tour right now.

Unlike my other favourite Welsh three pieces (McLusky, Future of the Left), The Joy Formidable contain no self consciousness, left field weirdness or irony, it's just big time, fun rock music. To be honest there is a wee of angst here but songs like The Magnifying Glass, Whirring, Cradle and Chapter 2 are all throw your devil horns to the sky goodness. Even better is Buoy, a slow burn and churn that is somewhere between Mogwai and the Smashing Pumpkins if such a thing could exist. As I said with the We Were Promised Jetpacks review yesterday, while I might not be playing this record a year from now, right here and now it sounds pretty damn good.


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