The Joy Formidable

A Balloon Called Moaning

Written by: TL on 20/10/2009 14:50:52

Every once in a while, PP finds a record by an up and coming young band, which he will ask me to review for him because he deems that my knowledge of it contextual genre is greater than his. Such is the case with "A Balloon Called Moaning", the first studio album by British indie-rockers The Joy Formidable, and this particular time, the request is one that I'm not too bothered to carry out.

As the first song "The Greatest Light Is The Greatest State" sounds from my speakers, my first thoughts immediately venture to The Arcade Fire, as TJF's soundscape has the same kind of feeling to it, being both large, joyous yet still strangely melancholic as well. The repeated chorus goes to the mind quickly, and makes it easy for the listener to get into the song and enjoy it, and the following "Cradle" follows up on those notions, albeit noisier and at a higher speed. The vocal work of singer Ritzy Bryan also more or less demands a comparison to Yeah Yeah Yeah's, while Scandinavians could probably compare her to Pernille Rosendahl (The Storm, ex-Swan Lee) or Maja Ivarsson (The Sounds), however, TJF's soundscape is mostly thicker and busier than any of the bands mentioned (save for The Arcade Fire), as the majority of the time, both guitar, bass and synth can be heard at the front of the expression.

With only eight relatively short tracks, "A Balloon Called Moaning" passes by swiftly and is over almost before you realize it's begun, and it's evident that we're dealing with more of a cautious statement of identity from the band, than we are with an epic opus meant to blow us away. And with that in mind, it's easy to deem them relatively succesful, because the established sound is potent, and the songs are both easily accessible and enjoyable. However, I must express a fear that they might not be all too memorable after the cd ends, for that there are simply too few stand out moments, save for the previously mentioned chorus of the opening track, that of "The Last Drop", and the male/female vocal exchange of the subtle "9669". So all in all, a good solid debut, but one that leaves lots of room for a growth in ambition that needs to happen before The Joy Formidable close in on bigger names.

Download: The Greatest Light Is The Greatest State, 9669, The Last Drop
For The Fans Of: Yeah Yeah Yeah's, The Arcade Fire, Swan Lee

Release Date 02.03.2009
Self Released

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