The Joy Formidable
Wolf's Law - CANVASBACK/ATLANTIC
FILTER Grade: 80%%
By Mike Hilleary on January 21, 2013
In 2011, Welsh trio The Joy Formidable made one hell of a mission statement with their full-length debut The Big Roar and fully embraced the record’s title with an unapologetic, rafter-reaching noise, cemented by the airy vocal foil of pixie frontwoman Ritzy Bryan. The band’s sophomore follow-up Wolf’s Law finds the group continuing to climb that established mountain of sound—they’ve learned something from actually playing the arena-sized venues they’d wished for with Roar. Unlike their debut—which could sometimes have moments equivalent to loud machine-gun fire, occasionally hitting its intended target but blurring together and exhausting itself—the tracks on Wolf’s Law are like laser-guided rocket blasts, tighter and more effective. Featuring an incredibly strong opening with shredders “This Ladder Is Ours,” “Cholla” and “Tendons,” the real surprise comes from “Silent Treatment,” a gentle, drop-tuned acoustic number halfway through that fits nicely in the middle of the record’s hardened beginning and end.