Saturday, April 30th, 2011

The Joy Formidable – Whirring

Our new favourite Welshies…


Al Shipley: Heard this band in passing recently and was surprised to find myself intrigued, since I’ve generally regarded U.K. rock as consistently on the wane for my entire lifetime. Hunkering down and focusing on an entire song is less rewarding, but still, not bad.

Doug Robertson: A good rule of thumb for judging indie music is that the higher the registers they hit, the better it is. An obsession with bass tones tends towards music that is sludgy with all the imagination you’d expect from a mud pool, while aiming higher on the scale often indicates a desire to soar higher than what’s gone before. So it is with the Joy Formidable, whose treble-tastic tastes provide a lift that pours out of the speakers like quicksilver, dripping with light and a hint of danger.

Iain Mew: I still haven’t worked out if The Joy Formidable are a shoegaze band who can’t help but write immediate pop melodies or vice versa, but either way it regularly makes for thrilling stuff. “Whirring” makes “Austere” sound tame in terms of both earworm hooks and feedback drowned breakdowns, the latter drawn out for four minutes in increasingly breathtaking fashion until it dwarfs the actual song part.

Zach Lyon: This doesn’t stand out to me as much as “Austere” did, but I still love that guitar and her voice and their constant sound explosions.

Jonathan Bradley: This reminds me of An Horse, another indie rock band that charms by investing traditionalist guitar pop moves with a new intensity. Joy Formidable singer Ritzy Bryan does much of the heavy lifting on “Whirring”; her vocal lifts the sparkling riffs to even higher altitudes. The effect produced is one of nervous excitement, like the band is on the cusp of something great. Perhaps they are.

Martin Skidmore: The buzzsaw backing sometimes has some energy here, but by and large they sound like a band whose ambition is to have supported the Primitives, and it seems just about possible that they might eventually make a single in that class, but this isn’t it.

David Katz: Case in point of how bread-and-butter indie rock improves just by the addition of a lead female vocalist. I like how singer and guitarist Ritzy Brian evokes Corin Tucker as she bellows over the din of guitars. Suitably epic and earnest stuff for early 10s indie, but with a welcome dash of grit.

Alfred Soto: In honor of the late Poly Styrene, I resolved for the reminder of the week to be kinder to the female voice anchoring a punk band. Luckily, this act’s single is one of the good ones. Burying the line “Turn the dial on my world” behind a wall of shoegaze goodness required no further explanation. If the single had ended at the 2:45 mark it’d have been a minor classic.

Jer Fairall: A charming, chiming little jaunt in its embryonic EP form, “Whirring” now explodes from a three-and-a-half minute quirk into a nearly seven minute widescreen panorama befitting of an album titled The Big Roar. Even heard in isolation, though, nothing about the final four minutes of pummelling instrumental cacophony feels fatty or gratuitous, resembling instead something closer to the cute nerd you ignored in high school after a couple of years of hitting the gym, letting his complexion clear up and confidence build enough to suddenly demand and warrant the attention deserved all along.

Ian Mathers: If I were to use the classic critical tool of reductive caricature on this song, the Joy Formidable appear to be Emily Haines from Metric fronting a slightly more vicious Mew circa Frengers. But that’s an approach that overlooks all nuance and shading. Where do I get the album?

One Response to “The Joy Formidable – Whirring”

  1. Alfred, you’ve got the same problem as I do with the album version. The original recording of “Whirring” from 2 years ago doesn’t have the jam that lasts forever at the end of this recording.