The Joy Formidable: Hitch (C'mon Lets Drift) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Friday, July 3rd, 2020  

The Joy Formidable


C'mon Lets Drift

Mar 23, 2016 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

The Joy Formidable continue on their single-minded path toward sheer scale, this time around taking things a little more slowly in the studio. In fact, the band started by building a studio, The Red Brick, in their native Wales, then spent 12 months recording the album themselves. A little mix help from Alan Moulder (who among many credits was one of the few Loveless engineers deemed worthy of Loveless by Kevin Shields) and boomanother stadium-sized, shooting-for-the-rafters set of anthems from this formidable trio.

2013's Wolf's Law saw the band channeling their Lush, Slowdive, and other shoegaze touchstones through an increasingly squeaky-clean lens, quashing some of the dynamic loud-quiet-loud appeal of its 2011 predecessor The Big Roar and adding a full string section. Many a review was quick to summon Muse, with whom Joy Formidable had done a stint of shows, and trot out the old "overproduced" tag. Hitch is comparatively raw, perhaps, but no less intent on taking home arena-rock trophies.

Opener "A Second in White" might have been at home on The Big Roar, building up slowly to massive heights through its repeated fist-pumping chorus of "I had a second in white" while drummer Matthew James Thomas continues with his almost progressive-metal proclivities, going absolutely apeshit on the toms. "Radio of Lips" follows up, and is another classic Joy Formidable anthem, Ritzy Bryan leaning hard into the eighth notes with an alarming number of guitar tracks and hard into the chorus with her incomparable pipes.

There are non-anthems, too. "Liana," for example, is slick, coming off like the aforementioned Muse having their way with a Stevie Nicks cover. "Underneath the Petal," an acoustic tune built on repeated fingerpicked guitar refrains, might have come from the hobbit-infected head of Jimmy Page (two words: flute solo). And while both the maudlin pop diversions and studio experiments are palatable enough, the band remains strongest at its most strident, pounding out massive choruses in an ocean of churning guitars, adorning them with syncopation or weird time interplay, and just going for it. Thankfully, that still represents half the menu. (


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