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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 12 February 2011
Consisting of Matt (drums), Rhydian (bass & backing vocals), Ritzy (lead/rhythm guitar & lead vocals) are another fine new alternative rock trio. An impressive passionate opening with 'The Everchanging Spectrum Of A Lie' which shows that Ritzy is an excellent vocalist. Then they move more into an energetic Subways punk type offering via 'The Magnifying Glass'. A really melodic track follows 'I Don't Want To See You Like This' which is beautiful & majestic with some solid bass & drums. 'Austere' probably their most famous & another excellent piece, followed by the heavy grinding 'A Heavy Abacus'. Next 'Whirring' is brilliant with a backing synth sounds that fits into the vocal phrasing from Ritzy (though perhaps the ending goes on a bit long but still some good instrumentation that builds up into a fuzzed guitar passion which will blow your speakers out). The moody 'Buoy' follows, with a short interlude in '(Maruyama)' via a beautiful guitar arpeggio over which Ritzy half talks/sings. Serves as an intro to perhaps 2nd highlight 'Cradle' which is stunningly beautiful "I wish the cobwebs would cover me", "My vicious tongue...just cradles one". Next 'Llaw = Wall' has actually Rhydian doing vocal duties on a fairly symphonic affair, with a powerful grunge 'Chapter 2' following "why is the finish now the start...roll the timing back for her". Final number 'The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade' is probably the highlight "This dream is in a telescope now" & is an emotional tour de force from Ritzy. "Fever in bedtime covers go unknown until two eyes out of the darkness bring hope close". As per another reviewer 9/10 & which I'll round up to 5 stars as there are enough brilliant moments here.
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on 24 January 2011
Managed to get my hands on a copy today. Fantastic debut from the Welsh trio. Crashing drums from Matt, pounding bass from Rhydian, and buzzing guitars from Ritzy, as well as the great vocal delivery from the latter two, make one brilliant album. Personal favourites Buoy, The Magnifying Glass and the single I Don't Want To See You Like This are all magnificent both musically and lyrically and fit perfectly with old favourites like Cradle, Whirring and The Greatest Light is the Greatest Shade that have been newly mixed and adapted with some new arrangements. Just as striking as they were on first listen. Its not pure perfection but its very close. 9/10 from me but I'll round that up to 5 stars. In short, all you could want from a debut album. Going to see them next week. I wish them success.
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While some of these songs have been doing the rounds for a number of years its is a Joy at last to have them all encased on this debut album from our friends in the North (Wales in this case). The Joy Formidable band comprise the delectable Ritzy Bryan - Vocals / guitar, Rhydian Dafydd - Vocals / bass and Matt Thomas - Drums and they are a great addition to the proud tradition of Welsh rock bands who generally make a very big noise and infuse their music with a passion which could fill our national shrine the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Your reviewer saw them supporting the Howling Bells some two years ago and it was clear then that they were a very special prospect indeed as the blew the latter off stage.

Anyone checking out the wonderful "Austere" will not just nod in agreement but be literally pulverised by a wall of sound that echoes Siouxsie and Banshees on "Spellbound" and borrows respectfully from the great Kim Deal in the Pixies. The great "Whirring" has been out for ever but it sounds as fresh today and the extended version of it on the Big Roar reminds me for the first time of a link with Montreal's finest "The Arcade Fire. Things become even more pronounced in this respect on the last track the "The greatest light is the greatest shade" where they not only play the Canadians at their own game they produce a song of such raw power that is simply overwhelming. This album is nevertheless evidence that the whole is the sum of the parts, such as the noise fest that starts off the seven minute plus opener `The Everchanging Spectrum Of A Lie' which develops into a chorus so big it should require planning permission. "Llaw =Wall" alternatively is sung by Rhydian David and is a much darker affair with an almost hymn like dirge to begin until it we pause for a short silence and it comes back like a song possessed; the slow burning "Buoy" also falls into this category. Perhaps the band ethic is best expressed however on the pop gem "Cradle" which proves that Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs has a got a new contender in town who wants her crown and had better watch out.

Never has an album been so aptly named as the "Big Roar" since this is the sonic equivalent of a huge musical force building up to maximum power and unleashing a true wave of Welsh energy. Certainly the band has had plenty of time to perfect these songs and if a slight whinge is allowed those who already have the bands mini LP "A balloon called moaning" are already in possession of many of the key songs here. Yet to be fair the band have re-recorded them and often improved upon them. Overall "The Big Roar" is a supremely confident debut from a band that is realising its promise, they are a force of nature in concert and they have finally achieved parity on record.
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on 21 February 2013
Fantastic debut album from Joy Formidable. Big Roar is a great name for the album as the sound really is a "Big Roar", deafening sound, turn the volume right up to really appreciate it. Superm music complimented by Ritzy Bryan's vocals. To see them live is really something else. Ritzy must be the sexyest woman in music and she can really play the guitar.
I have bought the follow up album but am still listening to it, first impressions are once again superb.
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on 25 January 2011
What a relief! Too often apparently talented new bands appear on the horizon then fail to deliver. TJF deliver on this full-length debut. My fear that The Big Roar would simply be an extended version of A Balloon Called Moaning (magnificent though it was) proved unfounded. A glut of new songs and a reworking of the old make this as fresh as you could hope for.
Shades of My Bloody Valentine, Pixies, Throwing Muses but certainly not looking backwards, TJF have a great future ahead if Ritzy & Rhydian maintain this level of creativity.
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on 14 June 2016
I realised I never reviewed this brilliant debut album from what is now pretty much my favourite band. So many highlights, and while it maybe lacks the variety of their later releases, that consistency is also a strength as the whole album flows from one soaring, haunting, riff-driven, joy-filled opus into another. Stunning.
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on 7 June 2011
I must admit that I hadn't heard of The The Joy Formidable but I've got a ticket to this years Glastonbury and I was checking out some of the bands to decide who to go to see. From previous Glastonbury's I've learned to ignore the big names on the pyramid (too many people, rubbish view, sound not that great etc...) and instead take the opportunity to try out a few bands you haven't heard of and the John Peel stage is a good starting point. TJF were on the playlist so I found a few of their videos on youtube. I found myself thoroughly enjoying Austere and Whirring so decided to buy the CD. I prefer to have listened to their recorded work a few times before seeing a band live so having invested so much in the Glasto ticket a thought a few quid on some new CDs was a good investment. I've now played The Big Roar many times and I'm finding it keeps getting better each time. Its a pretty powerful sound for a three piece with a rythmn driven rich layered sound that in some way reminds me of Doves in the way the rythmns and melodies intertwine and swell but with a vocal that has a hint of siouxsie sioux. This has now become my new favourite band and I'm really looking forward to seeing them live at Glasonbury.
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on 30 January 2015
This would be a classic if only the tracks were not so drawn out?
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on 23 February 2011
Thanks to Mr Radcliffe and Mr Maconie I bought the Balloon...ep. All the comparisons are right (first album U2 and My Bloody Valentine mostly to my aging ears) but this is genuinely a band with its own voice. Young types tell me they are great live too.
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on 9 February 2013
I bought this after hearing a couple of the singles on Youtube. Fell in love with the summery, punky sound. Very upbeat and lively and I love Ritzy's vocals. Stunning album. Would recommend to any music lover. They are also fab live
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