The Joy Formidable at Turner Hall
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There aren’t many contemporary bands attempting The Joy Formidable’s particular kind of loud, surging guitar pop. The Welsh power trio has a booming, melodic style—reminiscent of the Lush/Ride “dreampop” era, but cleaner, or like a more modernized version of Big Country’s “big music.” It helps too that The Joy Formidable has simplified its songwriting to stay out of the way of its sound. The band’s just-released second album, Wolf’s Law, is anchored by easy-to-remember songs like “Tendons” and “Bats,” in which frontwoman Ritzy Bryan repeats a catchy phrase over and over (“tendons that we are / tendons stretched too far,” and “I had a reason / but the reason went away,” respectively) over pummeling drums and buzzy guitars, trying to make sure the words ring in the listeners’ heads along with the music. Even when the structure of a song is as involved as Wolf’s Law’s “The Leopard And The Lung”—a swirling six-minute epic that sounds like an early Sinéad O’Connor song, backed by My Bloody Valentine in full Loveless mode—the individual pieces are still tight, direct, impactful.
The band is scheduled to make its Milwaukee headlining debut Tuesday, April 9 at Turner Hall Ballroom. General admission tickets are $18 in advance, $20 the day of the show, and go on sale Friday, January 25 at noon.