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Joy Formidable – Wolf’s Law

Halfway in to the first song, This Ladder is Ours, off Joy Formidable’s sophomore release Wolf’s Law, I stop even bothering to pretend like I’m trying to be music critic.  I realize I have nothing but un-abashed love for arguably the greatest band to ever come out of Wales.

Joy Formidable is evolving just a bit here, but not a lot really, and that’s fine by me.  You get a few more piano riffs, and strings enter the mix, and you can tell they’ve finally made enough money to buy some fancy effects pedals, but the blueprint is still the same.

They know they’re coming on the heels of a fantastic debut and fans, and soon to be fans, want more of what they were dishing out to begin with.  Tendons, Little Blimp, and The Leopard and the Lung give you just that, and then they go about as heavy as we’ve heard them in Bats.

There’s the prog-rock infused Maw Maw Song that sounds like it could fit on Rush’s opus 2112, and then there’s the strip backed ballad Silent Treatment, something we really haven’t seen before from them.

The album ends on an interesting turn with a some-what bizarre, string-laden foreign film credit roll song.  I was taken aback a bit at first, but I think it works here.  It works because you can tell they are trying to create an audio film here, with all its movements.

Wolf’s Law is better than their debut The Big Roar, only in the fact that it’s a better album as a whole, with more peaks and values and pure perfect sequencing.  It flows better.  The songs themselves are not really better, but they’re just as good.  The Big Roar is one of the great debuts in the past 10-15 years, especially coming from a power trio, and this is a smart follow up to that.

It’s clear from Wolf’s Law that Joy Formidable are out to create massive arena-sized rock riffs and fill stadiums.  They’re not going to be content with playing small clubs and early afternoons at Lollapalooza.  They want it all, and they will have it all.

Grade: A