The Joy Formidable burst on the American music scene in 2011 with their album The Big Roar (QRO review). Their pummeling single “Whirring” (the non-radio version) was amazing and was just a taste of everything that album had to offer. It was hard to imagine them being able to decently follow it up. Enter their new album, Wolf’s Law.
Listeners of Wolf’s Law are the tiniest bit slighted, to be honest. Its first two tracks have been around long enough (since October of 2012, actually) that it seemed as though they would be a stand-alone release in between albums. This was not the case. These songs, “This Ladder Is Ours” and “Cholla”, are acceptable by themselves, but they feel more like b-sides or maybe as though they didn’t make the cut for The Big Roar. One particularly interesting aspect of them, considering the big picture, is that they serve as a bridge between what The Joy Formidable did on The Big Roar and the evolution of the latter three-quarters of Wolf’s Law in terms of sound.
Given this issue, Wolf’s Law is a bit worrisome in terms of wow factor. However, once it reaches the song “Bats”, things pick up and don’t let up until the beautifully epic conclusion “The Turnaround/Wolf’s Law” (“Wolf’s Law” is the hidden track that starts around the 5:33 mark).
One track that falls in between those two is the exquisitely crafted and equally catchy “Silent Treatment”. This is different from most Joy Formidable songs in that it primarily features acoustic guitar. Actually, aside from the occasional ambient sounds in the background and lead singer/guitarist Ritzy Bryan’s vocals, it is the only thing in the song, which is a welcome change from the sound of usual and is a step in the right direction of these guys branching out and trying new things.
The progression from “Bats” to “Silent Treatment” is only made better by the albums next piece, “Maw Maw Song”. They must not have been able to come up with a good title as it seems to simply be named after the one ‘word’ that is spoken the most throughout. Aside from that sort of silly fact, musically, this song is highly entertaining and epic.
Those aren’t even all if the notable tracks on this album (see “The Leopard and the Lung”), which could officially mean that, while this album doesn’t have a “Whirring” of its own, overall, it is a more solid release. Wolf’s Law is evidence that this little band from Wales has a sound that is larger than life, and look out because they have found their footing.