Album: The Big Roar
Label: Canvasback Music, Atlantic, Black Bell
Simply put, The Joy Formidable’s The Big Roar is a monumental odyssey into the realm of musical ecstasy. Juxtaposing ambitiously loud and monstrous sounds with powerful and eerily hypnotic vocals, the album is an embodiment of a wondrous imagination at work.
From the opening track “The Everchanging Spectrum of a Lie”, a Sonic Youth-inspired eight minute extravaganza, the listener is greeted with an audacious piece of epic grandeur. Swarming with an array of rhythmic abundance, the song is a blue print for what is to come over the next eleven tracks. And what is to come assembles into one of the best albums of the year.
A landscape of sonic majesty, The Big Roar confronts the listener with multitudes of style. Whether it’s the hard-hitting and confrontational “The Magnifying Glass”, with its booming combination of distorted guitars and thunderous drum patterns, or the enigmatic “Llaw=Wall”, with its simplistic melancholic structure that eventually gives way to a chorus that explodes with jubilant desire, the album revels in its diversity.
Though, if there is one aspect that really ties the album together, it’s located in its thematic make-up. There is a loneliness that permeates throughout The Joy Formidable’s richly-textured songs, and rather than undermine The Big Roar’s slight leanings toward catchy pop hooks, it instead provides greater character to the overall structure of the album.
A joy to listen to, the Welsh trio’s debut LP is an amazing achievement that will continue to appreciate with age.