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The Big Roar

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iTunes Review

The Joy Formidable’s mini-LP of 2010 (A Balloon Called Moaning) hinted at the Welsh group’s capacity for live shows that could singe the hair off your arms. It was alluring enough for major labels to come calling, and after signing with Atlantic, the band pulled four of the strongest tunes from that release and combined them with a handful of shiny new tracks for their official U.S. debut, The Big Roar.  This tiny trio makes music befitting the release’s title, with walls of guitars and sweeping crescendos that sound like a band twice as large. Singer/guitarist Ritzy Bryan might be small in stature but her voice delivers beautifully; reverb swathes Bryan’s guitar notes, but her brawny, unadorned vocals are well suited to tunes like the billowing “The Everchanging Spectrum of a Lie” and the muscular “Magnifying Glass.”  Elsewhere, Bryan’s slightly sweeter approach adds the right touch on tracks like the shoegazy “I Don’t Want to See You Like This” and the irresistibly frothy “Cradle,” one of the highlights from Balloon. (Other tracks from that release include “Austere,” “Whirring” and “The Greatest Light is the Greatest Shade.”)

Customer Reviews

Tons of depth, promise

Every time you come back to this album, you'll walk away with a new favorite. For the moment, mine is A Heavy Abacus... but that will change again I'm sure. Don't miss the Roarities EP either, these guys have really great live energy that translates beautifully onto those tracks.

Can't wait for more out of this great young band.

The Big Roar is a monster

On The Joy Formidable's newest album The Big Roar, we find the North Wales band perfecting the swirling guitar sounds of Curve, Failure, and Catherine Wheel from 20 years earlier. The album's title is appropriate, as the tracks burst from what sounds like a compromised cage on the opening The Everchanging Spectrum of a Lie. The mix is piled high with multiple layers of guitar, vocals and copious effects to keep The Big Roar interesting, pausing only briefly later in the album on Maruyama and Llaw = Wall before sinking its claws deeper into you on the departing songs Chapter 2 and The Greatest Light is the Greatest Shade. All in all, a pleasant surprise that this formula is still fizzy after all these years.


Best sound like this since vintage K's Choice. Get it, you won't be disappointed.


Formed: 2007 in Mold, Wales

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

After spending several years with the post-punk outfit Sidecar Kisses, vocalist/guitarist Ritzy Bryan and bassist Rhydian Dafydd left the lineup and launched the Joy Formidable, drawing heavily from shoegaze and noisy alt-rock to create their new group's sound. Formed in North Wales in 2007, the band later resettled in London, where original drummer Justin Stahley was replaced by Matt Thomas. The Joy Formidable began building a buzz in 2008, making appearances at several British festivals and earning...
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The Big Roar, The Joy Formidable
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Customer Ratings