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Wolf's Law is the second studio album from Welsh indie-rock outfit The Joy Formidable, and the first since they signed to a major label.
Wolf’s Law suggests that, however hefty a burden is placed upon our bones, they’ll adjust accordingly to support the load.
And it’s unsurprising that The Joy Formidable have become keen enough believers in the theorem to appropriate it for the title of their second album. If 2011 debut The Big Roar had them pegged as promotion-pushers to rock’s big leagues, patronage from Dave Grohl and support slots with Muse last year must have placed a stadium-sized weight on their skeletons.
Little wonder, then, that Wolf’s Law often finds frontwoman Ritzy Bryan in the midst of existential crisis or bouts of introspective soul-searching.
“Let’s sit and talk and slow things down / Just be our old selves again finally,” she pleads on opener This Ladder Is Ours.
But for all the talk of hankering for safer past climes, there’s scant nervousness to be found in the orchestration: gorgeously classy strings take on the slightest of nightmarish hues, before a whiplash of riffs comes crashing down.
It’s this tightrope between bruised self-doubt and fun blasts of noise that gives Wolf’s Law its emotional heft; a seesaw of seeking salvation and receiving it courtesy of cathartic anthems.
Cholla sees Bryan ask, “What are we doing? Where are we going?” But the boisterous thwack ’n’ thrash turns the chorus into something euphoric rather than moribund.
On Bats, her fretting of “I had a reason, but the reason went away” is given a shot of adrenaline by the bonkers, snot-nosed backing. And while Tendons postures as a love song, it’s as sleazy as it is starry-eyed due to its scuzzy, positively filthy bassline.
Odd spots see them descend into tedium, such as the anaemic balladry of Silent Treatment.
But the genuinely bonkers Maw Maw Song is so brilliant that other dreary transgressions can be forgiven. It’s a meandering beast that encompasses Led Zeppelin-shaped wig-outs, prog-rock detours and a gloriously dumb chorus while Bryan shrieks like a rock priestess over the course of seven minutes.
That track’s a testament to The Joy Formidable’s conviction that having stadium-sized ambitions doesn’t have to neuter your originality. Whatever’s thrown at them next, their bones are unlikely to buckle under the pressure.
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Top Customer Reviews
Then just as I'm about to reach back in to the 70's AGAIN, along comes an album like Wolf's law, and it lifts your heart.
Takes a lot to grab me first up, but this really is a cracker.
I'm not in to writing track by track reviews, it's all about whether the whole album works for me, and it does, the whole way through, finishing on a joyful chorus of strings and a soaring voice.
Not sure who to compare these guys to: a bit of Mostly Autumn, some Porcupine Tree.
All I know is I'll be looking forward to whatever they release next, and may well still have Wolf's Law in the CD player when they do.
There are no dead spots here and this CD has been in my computer for really the better part of the year. I listen to it regularly yet it's all still fresh. I can't say I understand the artwork in the CD booklet, but aside from that I can find nothing to fault here. Love TJF.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bought this with there other album, again not disappointed.Published 13 months ago by Stephen Franks
What a great collection of songs! Thoroughly enjoyed listening to this. Their previous work is superb, too. I just wish modern bands released albums more frequently.Published on 17 Feb. 2014 by Stephen Ince
I've always been a fan of female fronted bands and I have to say I think The Joy formidable are up there with best of them
( Blondie, Fleetwood mac, Lacuna coil, Fugees ,... Read more
Loud guitars, satisfying melodies. What's not to like?
Trust this concise, well informed review and download this now. You won't be disappointed!
Couldn't wait to get this album as absolutely love 'The Big Roar'. Always anxious that a follow-up wouldn't come up to the same high standard but there is no problem like that... Read morePublished on 9 May 2013 by Poppa C
The Joy Formidable and their 2011 début The Big Roar was whilst being a bit too, "Big" at times, could also be an enjoyable album as well, with stand-out tracks "Whirring"... Read morePublished on 20 April 2013 by Matthew R.
You can see the stars, go seek an opportunity to listen, far better than reading my ramblings on Amazon. ByePublished on 11 April 2013 by magicern