Review Summary: Generic, Unappealing and boring, this is musical regression in its purest form and the Joy Formidable should be ashamed of themselves.
The 2013 sophomore release from The Joy Formidable should be seen as a regression in musical integrity in almost every way. On their debut the Welsh trio managed to create a fun and catchy alternative rock band with dreamy vocals and catchy choruses, achieving high sales figures primarily due to their single Whirring. On the follow-up, The Wolf's Law, the band has stripped down their sound and created one of the most one-dimensional and boring releases of the year so far with dull instrumentals and even the vocal performance from Ritzy Bryan could not quite save this release.
The band essentially sounds like a second-rate Biffy Clyro without half the creativity or intelligence in the writing which leads to the album equating to a mismatched series of random guitar lines and a monotonous drum performance that keeps to one beat throughout almost the entire album. The vocal work from Ritzy Bryan sticks to a mid range with the occasional higher note thrown in and her vocals have been the highlight of both the band's releases to date. She carries the anthemic choruses to songs such as Tendons really rather well and shows that she can hold a note for more than half a second without her voice wavering which gives this band one more factor to play around with.
However the core problem to this release is not the generic music to it but is in fact the production work. The production is as thick and rough as it can be and it is not handles in a good way but in fact just makes the album sound like a jumble of random sounds. Had the producer actually put some time into his work on this release then perhaps it would be more tolerable (although still only in small doses) but every instrument on it blends together to make a wall of sound. The most noteworthy thing about this though is that when there is not a lot going on musically it manages to avoid being a session of complete ear rape as the drum and bass introduction to Little Blimp with Ritzy singing over the top shows. When the guitar and cymbals come in the song suddenly falls apart again but until this it had potential to be the strongest song on the album.
The guitar work on here fast grows tedious and tiring with the same repetitive chord based nonsense found on every single song with very little variation to it. This is an album that is about as generic as it gets and is clearly attempting to be the next big thing on the radio but fails primarily due to the production. In terms of actual musicianship this band just sounds exactly the same as every other band out there with their obvious influences being rooted in Scottish rock titans Biffy Clyro but only half as catchy. The choruses to these songs all have a hook to them that are easy to sing along to such as in the single This Ladder Is Ours but the problem is that to reach them one has to suffer through the rest of the music which is as sub-par as it gets.
Wolf's Law is about as much of a step backward as The Joy Formidable could have made, being poorly produced with a cymbal constantly clattering around that has very little of merit to it. Listen to the section at 1.30 of Bats for an example of how this band SHOULD sound as this is perhaps the one moment of the album that is enjoyable. This is not the worst thing ever made but it is as generic as it gets and therefore degrades to a snoozefest despite the obvious effort put in by Ritzy Bryan to create something worth listening to.