Review: The Joy Formidable, The Big Roar

SATURDAY, 29 JANUARY 2011

The Joy Formidable – The Big Roar

Indie is dead they cry! It’s all about Dub-Step, Post-Dub and One Direction – the future!

Thankfully, that’s absolute rubbish, and incidentally, so are One Direction.

Indie is not dead; it has been resting, hibernating, dormant like a musical volcano. But it has been absent. Part of the reason I have not reviewed in a while is that there was only one Really Good album of last year, Foals’ Total Life Forever, and 99% of the rest turgid filler.

It seems you need one of two things in order to be successful at the moment; Simon Cowell, or a keyboard.

The Joy Formidable do not have a keyboard, and Simon Cowell does not feature on the album, although for legal reasons I cannot confirm that they have not met, abused, or generally associated with the man himself at all.

But The Joy Formidable are very good at playing the instruments they do have. One of the few good bands being promoted by NME at the moment – seriously Vaccines? – they finally bring back guitars and a certain sense of ‘rawrrrrrr’ back into Indie.

Opener, The Everchanging Spectrum of A Lie, creates a euphoric intention, stating it’s bold target from the start. Changing awkward rhythms in a not dissimilar way to pre-clarinet Biffy Clyro and delivering ‘rawrrrrrr’ aplenty, The Big Roar is set to be one of the best albums of the year, whether or not it will be widely received, which, as it does not feature Drake, does not seem likely.

Big singles, I Don’t Want To See You Like This, and, Austere, are fantastic songs in their own right with guitar lines that cut through wonderful rhythmic foundations. Bass lines become guitar lines in their own right.

But it is Whirring where the album really comes into its own. I hate to use the word ‘epic’ due to its recent linguistic dive thanks to the chavs, so I won’t, but imagine a word just like that. Its ‘massive’, and made for stadiums.

This is a truly fantastic album once you’ve got your head round the fact you’re hearing a female voice in a rock band – stop thinking The Cardigans, or Paramore, everyone knows they’re not a real band – and one that is surprisingly easy to listen to, considering the ‘rawrrrrrr’ nature of it. 

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