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The Big Roar

The Joy FormidableVinyl
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

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MP3 Music, 12 Songs, 2011 $9.49  
Audio CD, 2011 $15.18  
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Image of album by The Joy Formidable


Image of The Joy Formidable


Not a lot goes down in Casco, Maine. In the winter months, this sequestered hamlet around 30 miles from Portland in the North Easternmost tip of the United States acquires a Siberian stillness as suffocating snow descends and carpets this eerily remote and reclusive region.

Yet it was to a forest just outside Casco that The Joy Formidable singer/guitarist Ritzy Bryan and bassist Rhydian ... Read more in Amazon's The Joy Formidable Store

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Product Details

  • Vinyl (August 29, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Atlantic
  • ASIN: B0059ILFK2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,777 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. The Everchanging Spectrum Of A Lie
2. The Magnifying Glass
3. I Don't Want To See You Like This
4. Austere
5. A Heavy Abacus
6. Whirring
Disc: 2
1. Buoy
2. Maruyama
3. Cradle
4. Llaw = Wall
5. Chapter 2
6. The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade

Editorial Reviews

After self-releasing their eight-track A Balloon Called Moaning EP, The Joy Formidable spent 2009 touring the U.K., Europe and Australia with bands including Editors, Temper Trap and Passion Pit, mastering tiny clubs and festival stages alike. Along the way, they earned critical raves from NME, The Guardian, the London Times, Spin and Pitchfork, and praise from Garbage's Shirley Manson and Courtney Love, among others.

When they weren't on the road, the band worked on writing and tracking the material for The Big Roar. "We recorded in a tiny corner of our London bedroom," says guitarist and lead singer Ritzy Bryan. "It was great, because you could capture that moment when you wake up in the middle of the night with a melody or an image or a lyric." Working on and off for a year, the trio -- Bryan, bassist Rhydian Dafydd and drummer Matthew Thomas -- crafted a remarkable collection of modern rock songs that explore what Bryan describes as "the possibility of victory in a hopeless situation." Adds Dafydd: "The album covers a lot of emotional range. It's captured the battle between the eternal optimist and the manic depressive."

The band produced The Big Roar themselves, with help from engineer Neak Menter. They traveled to Los Angeles in summer of 2010 to mix it with Rich Costey (Muse, Foo Fighters, Glasvegas). The Village Voice called the album's first single, "I Don't Want To See You Like This," "one of the band's best offerings yet, a breakup song that looks forward to the other side of heartache, with racing guitars and thundering drums that seem engineered to snap both parts of the still-attached couple out of their sad state."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A triumphant debut! March 16, 2011
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I first heard this band via a preview of the album on NPR, and I've listened to little else since. There are at least 3 brilliant songs ("The Everchanging Spectrum of a Lie", "Whirring", and "Llaw=Wall"), and 6 other great songs ("Don't Want to See You Like This", "Austere", "A Heavy Abacus", "Buoy", "Cradle", and "The Greatest Light is the Greatest Shade"). The remaining 3 tracks are merely good.

The title of the album is really quite appropriate, as this trio delivers a huge sound that is melodic and triumphantly rocking. They pull off the rare feat of being heavy and hard at times without seeming morose, somber or angry. All of the songs are quite catchy and they'll take turns lodging themselves in your head.

Looking forward to seeing them at The Earl in Atlanta on 3/22!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TJF Crossover Appeal June 17, 2011
Format:Audio CD
Best album of the year....mass appeal in my household from 15 year old pop lover to 17 year old Beatles aficionado to 40 something alternative hack.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
While some of these songs have been doing the rounds for a number of years its is a Joy at last to have them all encased on this debut album from our friends in the North (Wales in this case). The Joy Formidable band comprise the delectable Ritzy Bryan - Vocals / guitar, Rhydian Dafydd - Vocals / bass and Matt Thomas - Drums and they are a great addition to the proud tradition of Welsh rock bands who generally make a very big noise and infuse their music with a passion which could fill our national shrine the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Your reviewer saw them supporting the Howling Bells some two years ago and it was clear then that they were a very special prospect indeed as the blew the latter off stage.

Anyone checking out the wonderful "Austere" will not just nod in agreement but be literally pulverised by a wall of sound that echoes Siouxsie and Banshees on "Spellbound" and borrows respectfully from the great Kim Deal in the Pixies. The great "Whirring" has been out for ever but it sounds as fresh today and the extended version of it on the Big Roar reminds me for the first time of a link with Montreal's finest "The Arcade Fire. Things become even more pronounced in this respect on the last track the "The greatest light is the greatest shade" where they not only play the Canadians at their own game they produce a song of such raw power that is simply overwhelming. This album is nevertheless evidence that the whole is the sum of the parts, such as the noise fest that starts off the seven minute plus opener `The Everchanging Spectrum Of A Lie' which develops into a chorus so big it should require planning permission.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A sonic assault... February 1, 2011
Format:Audio CD
The Joy Formidable are a Welsh trio and their debut "The Big Roar" is like a sonic assault, from "The Everchanging Spectrum Of A Lie" which opens with dischordant beats giving way to a Garbage-style affair with tumbling and trilling guitars, to the Garage Rock of "The Magnifying Glass". Lead vocalist Ritzy Bryan even channels Shirley Manson in places.

"Austere" is a light bouncy dreamy affair, while "Whirring" is shorn (in part) of the wall of guitars present on much everything else, revealing a sweet song set to thumping beats. Other standouts are the eerie "Buoy", the spooky ballad "Llaw = Wall" (with bandmate Rhydian Dafydd on vocals), to "Chapter 2" (which starts off with typewriter sounds before buzzing guitars take over). Closing is the epic ballad "The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade". Phones aloft everyone!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
I was blown away last year when I purchased A Balloon Called Moaning off of iTunes after watching a live performance video of the band performing "Austere. Now, here in 2011, we have The Joy Formidable's debut album showcasing their noisy yet eccentric brand of chaotic riffing coupled with catchy hooks and solid rhythms. If you've never heard The Joy Formidable, I suggest you start with one of their "older"-Ballon Called Moaning songs (Cradle, Austere, Whirring, etc.), as some of the tracks on here are very in-your-face and visceral so to speak. The first three tracks of Big Roar showcase this very well, with Ritzy using her guitar to produce the most atmospheric yet devastating riffs known to man. As another reviewer noted, Matthew Thomas's use of double-bass is definitely a unique factor to Joy Formidable's sound. It aids so much in the build ups and breakdowns of several tracks featured on Big Roar, most notably "Buoy". I could go into the dichotomy of how each track is presented and how the dynamics shift within each song, but no words can do The Big Roar justice, you'll just have to hear it for yourself.


+Loud, epic guitar work
+Catchy, pulsating choruses
+Excellent instrumentation & genius dynamics
+Variety from song to song (Llaw=Wall features Rhydian on vocals; The Greatest Light..'s use of synth)


-None....except I wish there were more songs = ]
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Next Big Thing From England! May 10, 2011
Format:MP3 Music
I have become increasingly convinced over the years that most of the good music that reaches our ears here in America actually comes from England.

Granted, America has birthed its fair share of amazing musical acts, but come on, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Radiohead, Oasis, Coldplay, Muse? The list goes on.

A group to add to that list is England's The Joy Formidable. The lead single "Whirring" off of their major label debut album The Big Roar has been getting massive radio airplay all over the country, especially here in Portland on our beloved 94.7. It's been getting so much airplay that before I heard the entire album I found myself wondering if there were even any other songs by this band.

As far as sound goes, think Silversun Pickups meets The Killers meets The Temper Trap. But with a female singer. Well, that isn't too far of a stretch I guess because the lead singer of Silversun Pickups sounds like a girl anyway. But the thing that separates them from the rest of what's going on right now in their genre is that they have some very hard rock elements. For instance, the drums. I've never hears such tasteful use of a double bass pedal on an album that wasn't classified in the heavy metal genre.

Other than appearing at this year's Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals The Joy Formidable are scarcely appearing in the United States. Every other date on their website right now is for Europe. This may not be a bad thing for them though. Because with as much popularity as they are gaining in America by the time they do tour here I wouldn't be surprised if it was sold out across the board.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible.
This album has not just one but two show stoppers. If you want to see and hear pure sonic bliss watch the live versions of Whirring at Glastonbury.
Published 6 months ago by I Love my Cats
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Power Rock!
After purchasing both full length albums by The Joy Formidable, and listening to them several times, I've had to go back and adjust some of my other ratings for other... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Zanriel
5.0 out of 5 stars Big Rooooooaaar!
Wow, this album is amazing. Lots of energy and amazing songs. There isn't really a bad track on here. Read more
Published 9 months ago by LM700
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good album!
I purchased this album a couple of years ago and sorta forgot about it, but I recently re-discovered it in my collection. Read more
Published 12 months ago by William S. Holmes
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
I read some good things about The Joy Formidable in Guitar World, Rolling Stone etc...
I have always liked the guitar-led trio group structure and have really enjoyed works by... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Charles S. Schweiger
5.0 out of 5 stars A big roar of aural awesomeness!
An aural adventure that takes you on a wonderful journey to worlds of mystery and madness, passion and pain, ecstacy and intimacy. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Gabriel Grey
5.0 out of 5 stars These guys (and lady) jam!
It's hard to find a good mix of rock these days, but the members of The Joy Formidable definitely do a great job of bringing us some jams!
Published 16 months ago by Paymon Farhadieh
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wall of Powerful, Unique Energy
While some bands today try to copy the 90's rock sound, The Joy Formidable emerge with a sound they can truly call their own. Read more
Published 17 months ago by ajdambro
4.0 out of 5 stars good, not amazing
The price was unbeatable. I love the Joy Formidable. There is not one song on A Balloon Called Moaning that I didn't really like. I took a chance on this album. Read more
Published 17 months ago by klouddweller
5.0 out of 5 stars The biggest Roar
I actually got into these guys recently on their newer album because I read a review of it in a newspaper. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Jefferson J
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