It TAKES a certain level of audacity to lug a large decorative gong around on a tour of smallish club venues. So (stage) props to Welsh trio The Joy Formidable for making clear their intent to rock big and loud.
The Joy Formidable
Oran Mor, Glasgow
Their latest album, Wolf’s Law, was written while the band were on tour with the mighty Muse and it certainly sounded like they had been taking lessons in how to achieve a massive bludgeoning sound from those masters of shameless overstatement.
Despite her perky name and her soft, maternal speaking voice, frontwoman Ritzy Bryan meant fierce business, administering some huge fuzz chords, chopping away at her guitar strings and jumping off stage to get up close and communal with the front rows.
She was aided in this onslaught by the propulsive basslines of her partner Rhydian Dafydd and the galloping beats and merciless cymbals-trashing of drummer Matt Thomas.
They were a powerful proposition when attacking at full throttle, but even when Dafydd broke out the Spanish guitar for the ballad Silent Treatment there was steel in the lyrics, while that next aural assault was only a verse or two away in the form of the bratty, onomatopoeic Maw Maw Song.
At this piledriving rate, The Joy Formidable are probably just one indie rock anthem away from crossing over. But to do that they will require songs which sink their hooks persuasively in to the listener, rather than just a brute force which batters them into submission.