Album Reviews Music

The Joy Formidable – Wolf’s Law

6/10

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Atlantic | 21.01.13

The North Wales three piece exploded into the public conscience in 2010 with a blistering live show and breathtaking debut LP which can only be described as a mixture of Catatonia and Sonic Youth, and are finally back this month with Wolf’s Law. Combining sprawling instrumentals which built into breathtaking crescendos of sheer visceral noise, infectiously catchy hook laden stompers and icy pop vocals from the charismatic leader Ritzy Bryan, The Big Roar was everything a good rock record should be, so it is safe to say that I was just a bit excited when I finally gave it a listen.

Saying I was disappointed by the album isn’t so much of an indicator of the quality of Wolf’s Law on its own, but compared to their debut it’s a plodding carbon copy. They’ve got rid of most of the bite that was so noticeable in their debut, so if they sounded like a combination of Catatonia and Sonic Youth, they now sound like a mixture of Catatonia and Muse, losing their raw edge for something a bit cinematic, pompous and radio friendly.

That’s not to say there aren’t still some terrific standout songs on the album, like grand opener This Ladder Is Ours and album highlight The Leopard and the Lung, proving on longer songs where they have more time to breathe that the incredible dynamic between them which allows them to create perfectly jelled but equally chaotic behemoths is still very much there, which means hopefully that this album is just a blip and they’ll unleash all the potential of their debut in their third album which should be due out next year.

It’s still a strong album when compared to the floods of identikit alt rock albums which will no doubt be released this year, and whilst it may not have the bite of their debut, nor is it particularly groundbreaking, it’s a fun and engaging offering from a larger than life band who deserve big things in 2013.

Stephen Springate

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