J is for The Joy Formidable

The Joy Formidable

Good Lord this band is awesome! I owe learning of this band to Jack Rabid and The Big Takeover. Jack created this fanzine back in 1980 and it has blossomed into a massive magazine packed full of well-informed record reviews and great interviews. It currently goes to publication twice a year. I read a review in issue#66 for an EP entitled A Balloon Called Moaning from a trio by the name of The Joy Formidable. Jack Rabid had this EP as his #1 pick in that issue. Trust me, if you are looking for RELEVANT information about classic old school punk rock and current independent pop and rock I highly urge you to check out The Big Takeover. It truly details “Music with Heart”.

Okay, enough free advertising. For the most part I trust this guy’s music instinct and more important, Jack Rabid’s record reviews are so detailed I have a very good idea after reading one whether I might like the band and album. I had never heard of The Joy Formidable before but the review intrigued me enough to take a chance on the disc. Naturally Stinkweeds had it and I snatched it up. I popped that disc in my car player upon leaving and I honestly think the first words out of my mouth ten seconds into the lead track “The Greatest Light Is the Greatest Shade” were “HOLY ____!” That song possesses an immense amount of power but the hooks infused in that track floored me. Every song on the disc was special and A Balloon Called Moaning ended up #5 on my 2010 Best Albums list.

I was very excited to hear what the band would do with an opportunity to release a full-length album. Not only was I not disappointed, the band exponentially exceeded my expectations with 2011’s The Big Roar. The album topped my 2011 Best Albums list and to be honest, as good as my #2 pick was that year it wasn’t even close. If possible The Joy Formidable exhibited even more power on this album, creating a disc that was so massive in scope it is both overwhelming and exhilarating at the same time. Four years later I still listen to that album a lot.

The Joy Formidable released Wolf’s Law in 2013. That album was #7 on my Best Albums of 2013 list. This band has displayed some incredible staying power and I truly believe they are just going to get better and better. Their live performances have become legendary and few bands today have been able to effectively combine pop genius with sheer power the way this trio does. Yes, The Joy Formidable creates music this good with just three members. Like I said earlier, “Holy ____!”

Dying for a new album from this band! Until then I hope you enjoy this live clip of my favorite track from The Big Roar, “The Everchanging Spectrum of a Lie”. Truly epic.

Album Inspiration: The Big Roar


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