The Joy Formidable is an indie rock band with a bit of dream-pop flavor who is originally from Mold, North Wales. Since their formation in 2007, they’ve released one EP and one album. They currently call London home, and the new record is scheduled for release in January 2013.
Childhood friends Ritzy Bryan (vocals, guitar) and Rhydian Dafydd (bass, vocals) were playing in other bands before they decided to do their own thing. They wanted an outlet for their love of “thick, textured noises… dirty, loud rhythmic guitars and thick bass lines.” They recorded a couple of songs, and eventually released an eight-song EP A Balloon Called Moaning. It was released in Japan in December of 2008 before they could self-release it in the UK in January of 2009. It didn’t enjoy a states-side release until March of 2010. At some point in 2009, they replaced their original drummer with Matt Thomas. While Bryan and Dafydd enjoyed big shimmering pop stuff, their new drummer enjoyed a metal aesthetic. Double kick drum. All that stuff. They found some middle ground, and the result is that their shows were described as “blistering”. It’s sort of hard to get that from the records, but I’ll take their word for it.
They put out a couple of videos with strange production quality well ahead of the release of their first proper album — The Big Roar in January of 2011. Those videos and the album had a lot of people talking. It was around this time (just before the album released) that I learned about them from one of my Geek friends (Viva la Geek!). Our little group had a long and hilarious email thread about how it would be a whole lot cooler if the band pronounced their name in the style of the French.
And then because one of the geeks used her encyclopaedic knowledge of cinema to recall a scene from “Dune” in which one of the characters pronounces the word “formidable” in a special way, our conversation devolved into an argument about the merits (or lack of same) of the films of David Lynch.
Just say it. It’s funny. “Jwah For-mee-dah-bluh”.
Anyway, while I never really warmed to The Big Roar apart from the four songs that it has in common with A Balloon Called Moaning, I really like the EP. I’ve heard one song from the forthcoming album, and there’s reason to expect the album to be good.
Today’s song comes from the A Balloon Called Moaning EP:
“While The Flies” by The Joy Formidable
In the first few seconds, I’m reminded a great deal of the UK shoegaze scene in 1990. I’m specifically reminded of the song “Drive Blind” by Ride. Until the bass and vocals come in. And then it’s something a little different.
The song is deceptively loud, and at 1:47, everything collides together. Co-ed vocals, the chiming guitar, the thick fuzzy bass, and the drums. Everything builds up, and for a second, it really is a beautiful noisy mess. I really like that bit at 2:26 when there’s just a ton of fuzz and a kick drum. Just for a couple of seconds.
And then at 3:29, when everything comes to a full stop. There’s just the sustain on the guitar for the last ten or so seconds.
The Joy Formidable is currently touring the UK and Europe in support of Muse. Starting in November, they’ll be doing a headlining tour of the United States. Their new record Wolf’s Law will be out in January. Until then, you might want to check out the brand new single for “This Ladder is Ours”, plus the video for the crushing new song “Cholla”. I love it:
There isn’t yet a pre-order for the new album, but you can pre-order the “Cholla” CD single here.
Of course you should also get the A Balloon Called Moaning EP here.