(SXSW 2013 flavoured!) Album Review: The Joy Formidable – Wolf’s Law

By on Thursday, 7th February 2013 at 3:00 pm

The Joy Formidable Wolfs Law coverThe follow-up to fan favourite ‘The Big Roar’ was always going to be an anticipated release, but it’s finally here and The Joy Formidable have outdone themselves. Writing their new album ‘Wolf’s Law’ whilst touring has definitely had an effect on the record; with more stadium-rocking tracks then their previous effort and the sort of self-reflecting and philosophical lyrics that seem to have come as a result of the long hours travelling between venues.

The band, made up of frontwoman Ritzy Bryan, drummer Matt Thomas and bassist Rhydian Dafydd (a name only out-Welshed by Tom Jones riding a sheep down Snowdonia), amp up the thick basslines and heavy guitars that have fared them so well in the past to great avail. The highlight of the album would definitely have to be the ‘Maw Maw Song’, a track that will have you MAW MAW MA-MA-MA MAW MAWWWW-ing for the rest of the year and a crazy-good guitar solo that just blows you away. And although the band are known for their fast tempo tracks and unrelenting guitar thrashing, it’s lovely to hear their slower side on ‘Silent Treatment’. The aptly named track is accompanied by beautiful acoustic guitars and Bryan’s gorgeous vocals; it’s a refreshingly welcome change of pace that breaks the album up nicely. On the song, Bryan sounds almost like a female Ben Howard.

Tracks on ‘Wolf’s Law’ may sound familiar; three of the tracks have already made the rounds as singles and free promos, and the entire album was available to stream for a week before its release. Alongside this, the Welsh trio kept listeners satiated in the wait between albums with their ‘Cholla’ EP. It featured one of the ‘Wolf’s Law’’s best songs (as well as a phenomenal acoustic version) as the EP’s title track and was greatly received by TJF fans.

The entire album is The Joy Formidable through and through. The frenzied intro of The Leopard and the Lung, the catchy guitar riff throughout ‘Cholla’ (single review here) and Ritzy Bryan’s aggressive vocals in Bats will gather more Formidable-ites as well as retaining those who tuned in to The Big Roar all the way back in 2011. My favourite Welsh band with a female lead (since Catatonia) are most definitely back, proving the sophomore slump to be non-existent in the fields of North Wales with their highly impressive second album.


‘Wolf’s Law’, the second album from the Joy Formidable, is out now on Atlantic. Stream the album here. Catch the band on tour in the UK later this month through early March; after that time, the band will head on over to Austin for SXSW. (We previewed them in the rock / metal / punk UK bands chapter of the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2013.)

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