12 Songs, 49 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

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.”)

EDITORS’ NOTES

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.”)

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