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CD of The Week

Week of 8/23/21

    The Joy Formidable - Into The Blue (ENCI)

    For the past decade, The Joy Formidable have created their own take on the rock power trio template. Led by the quite formidable sounds created by singer/guitarist Ritzy Bryan’s instrument, the Welsh band gives us more of their skyscraping-yet-ethereal music on Into The Blue, their fifth record.

    With the pounding rhythm section of bassist Rhydian Dafydd and drummer Matt Thomas, The Joy Formidable sound absolutely massive at almost all times. Into The Blue‘s title track is a classic TJF tune that kicks off the album, with Bryan saying goodbye to a relationship. She wistfully moves on, singing that she’s “Grateful that we at least felt something / We went / Into The blue.”

    Those guitar fireworks really kick in on “Chimes” and “Sevier,” taking their heavier rock sounds to a higher level. “Somewhere New” allows a breather as an acoustic track with Dafydd on lead vocals, before plunging back into the loudness once again.

    Bryan turns down the effects a bit to give her guitar a bit more of a chime inspired by The Edge on “Back to Nothing.” The band gets eerie on “Gotta Feed My Dog,” with Bryan creepily murmuring her vocals as the song builds from a whisper to a scream. Into The Blue wraps up with “Left Too Soon,” a delicate closer that also gradually builds to another big roar.

    The group could draw comparisons to Muse to an extent: a modern rock trio swinging for the rafters. However, Bryan looks inward lyrically while Matt Bellamy goes all the way into the stratosphere. While not stretching as far as they did on 2018’s AARTH, TJF have carved out a recognizable sound all their own that continues to bring rock fans joy on Into The Blue.

    The Joy Formidable are slated to play Underground Arts on December 16th. And stay tuned for Ritzy Bryan’s Y-Not Radio Takeover in September!
    Review by Joey O.

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