THE JOY FORMIDABLE – A Balloon Called Moaning (Pure Groove)

The Joy Formidable released two fine singles last year in ‘Austere’ and ‘Cradle’, and now this mini-album should introduce them to a much wider audience. ‘The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade’ is classic indie guitar rock, with surging guitars over a pounding rhythm and Ritzy Bryan’s vocals setting just the right Breeders/Belly tone. ‘Cradle’ is next, and is an attempt at indie/pop, but retaining an egde to it which elevates it way above the feeble attempts of Scouting For Girls et al. The other single ‘Austere’ is slower, but still manages to incorporate some great indie guitar riffing, and builds up to career to a rousing finish. Chiming guitars open ‘While The Flies’, which proves to be another brilliant indie guitar tune. ‘Whirring’ keeps up the pace with yet more thrashing guitars and pounding drums, and it is not until ‘9669’ that you get a chance to draw breath, when the band drag out the acoustic guitars, and Ritzy duets with Rhydian Dafydd for a charming ballad. While giving us all a breather it also proves that they can both really sing, as with the in-your-face vocals of the previous tracks I was wondering if they could only do the one style. ‘The Last Drop’ is another indie/pop gem, with Ritzy toning down her voice on the verses so that the chorus is even more powerful. ‘Ostrich’ rounds off this all too short disc with a maelstrom of My Bloody Valentine guitars almost drowning out Ritzy’s vocals, and a superb closer it is too. I really can’t think why the music mags are bemoaning the death of indie guitar rock when there are bands like this around, and they are just the tip of a huge iceberg. If you hunt around the net you will find thousands of them who still want to tread this well-worn path, and I for one am glad that they do. This CD has been around for a while as a Japanese import, and is due out any time now in a limited edition of 500 copies from the Pure Groove record shop, but as they are already sold out you better try their website where you can still pick up a copy wrapped in a A3 poster sleeve for just £7.00. I would advise that you hurry, though, as this band are going to be huge, so it won’t be around for long.
While The Flies