With the release of its powerful debut album in 2011, the Joy Formidable was hailed as a band to watch by Rolling Stone and praised by Spin and New Musical Express (NME) as one of Britain’s most exciting bands of the year.
“The Big Roar,” the Welsh trio’s first full-length album, lived up to the promise of its title with 12 tracks of aggressive but tuneful alternative-rock.
Led by spirited singer-guitarist Rhiannon “Ritzy” Bryan, the Joy Formidable also drew comparisons to such ’90s acts as Sonic Youth, Veruca Salt and P.J. Harvey.
So, after receiving heaps of praise from the music press, did the band suffer a case of sophomore jitters with the release of its second album, “Wolf’s Law,” in January?
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“No, not at all,” Bryan said cheerfully in a phone call last week from Austin, Texas, where the band performed three high-profile showcases at the SXSW music conference.
“There was no nervousness whatsoever. The only pressure is what we put on ourselves. And I think we knew straightaway that the challenge with this record was going to be dealing with all the material that we’d written on the road and trying to make sense of it.”
The band’s first U.S. tour since the release of “Wolf’s Law” — a worthy follow-up to “The Big Roar” that blends hard-rocking songs with reflective ballads — began earlier this month. It includes a show Wednesday night at the Neptune Theatre.
In addition to Bryan, the trio includes Rhydian Dafydd on bass and backing vocals and Matt Thomas on drums and percussion. Bryan and Dafydd were childhood friends who formed their first band, Tricky Nixon, in Manchester, England.
Among the tracks on “Wolf’s Law” is “Tendons,” a song about Bryan’s romantic relationship with Dafydd. It includes such lines as, “We clung onto each other/ There was no one else around.”
Gene Stout: email@example.com