“Cradle” was one of my most favourite songs last year, although I usually hate it if a band releases a tiny little EP (3 songs, really?) and then proclaims that the album comes out next year.
However, the waiting is over (apparently it was over for quite a few people years ago – so all the Japanese readers might find this review redundant). The Joy Formidable finally have put out their debut “A balloon called mourning” for the rest of the world. Now, the sound seems quite Shoegazer-y at the beginning when you listen to the Opener “The Greatest Light is the Greatest Shade”. That comes a bit as a surprise as their older stuff was more in the direction of indiepop gone alternative (they even did a cover of Qotsa’s “I was a teenage handmodel”).
However, “Cradle” is allowed to be the second track on the very thin 8-track-record and other indiepop-beauties follow.
Now, the shoegazer-sound doesn’t hurt them, but the postpunk-indiepop attitude just feels a lot more comfortable, especially, as they have this ability to get you optimistically excited with those songs. Especially with Ritzy’s clear – and dare I say cute – voice, it’s great to hear her backed up by some heavy guitars (played by herself) and drums (played by Matt Thomas).
The Shoegaze does pickaboo every now and then, which lets bassist and owner of the greatest Welsh name ever, Rhydian Dafydd, display his skills, however, The Joy Formidable are at their best when they get into a pop mode because a.) Shoegaze has flooded our playlists by now and only a few can stand out (like, erm, Beach House) and b.) their pop songs are absolute stellar. “Whirring” is on heavy rotation since weeks and the duet with Rhydian on “9669” is sweet and delicate, like a little flower on the wayside.
I gotta say, it’s f***ing short for an album, so you get stopped short as soon as you get into the mood but it’s – all in all – a pretty great record with some damn amazing songs on it, even if I still don’t know, what kind of band The Joy Formidable are, I do like them – a lot
Oh, and they are from Wales which is my personal happy place, since I spent about 9 months in Cardiff. So whenever someone touches me inappropriately or I have a bad day, I just imagine, I am there.