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CD of The Week

Week of 3/28/16

    The Joy Formidable - Hitch (C’mon Let’s Drift / Caroline)

    Welsh trio The Joy Formidable have been living up to their name now for more than half a decade. Singer/guitarist Ritzy Bryan is able to summon joyfulness in the intense power of her guitar playing while the full bands powerful sound is truly formidable. Its no coincidence their debut album was called The Big Roar. The band just released their third album Hitch, and as much as Id like it to be, it is not a concept album about the Will Smith-Kevin James 2005 comedy (unless the lyrical themes are really obtuse). Actually, much of lyrics were inspired by the romantic split between Bryan and bassist Rhydian Dafydd.

    The Joy Formidable waste no time by kicking off Hitch with A Second in White. Youll recognize their dense sound and Bryans voice right from the get-go. There is some great, intricate guitar work on Radio of Lips, while drummer Matt Thomas channels Jimmy Chamberlin with the Smashing Pumpkins-esque intro to Its Started. The sweeping strings and acoustic guitars on The Brook give a widescreen scope to the expansive track. The scale of the bands ambitions doesnt always hit the mark, as Underneath the Petal aims for the classic rock of Led Zeppelin before a flute shows up to make it more Jethro Tull.

    This is also a long album full of long songs. If youre into that whole brevity thing, TJF records might not be for you. Lead single Youre the Last Thing on My Mind stretches out to over six minutes on the record. And album closer Dont Let Me Know opens as an acoustic, coffeehouse song before bursting wide open halfway through its seven-and-a-half minute runtime.

    Overall, Hitch is big on sound but often a bit too low on hooks. The band sounds great and the quieter flourishes around the edges further add to their palate beyond their massive wall of rock. Bring some earplugs when The Joy Formidable play Underground Arts on April 15th, because it will get loud.

    **Donate $20 or more to Y-Not Radio this week to receive a copy of Hitch as our thank you gift. Click here for details.**
    Review by Joey O.

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