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CD Review: The Joy Formidable’s ‘Wolf’s Law’

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Annie Zaleski

The Details

The Joy Formidable
Wolf's Law
Four stars

In less than two years, Welsh trio The Joy Formidable progressed from playing tiny rock clubs to opening for Foo Fighters and Muse—a rise in popularity attributed to how the scrappy band won fans over with its thrashing, howling rock jams. Second album Wolf’s Law reflects the band’s self-assurance: While there are plenty of stampeding rock tunes—the Pixies-esque “This Ladder Is Ours,” bass-seared screamer “Little Blimp,” metallic headbanger “Maw Maw Song” and Queens of the Stone Age homage “Bats”—the disc has plenty of quiet moments. Standout “Silent Treatment” features folky acoustic guitar and Ritzy Bryan’s sighing, confessional vocals, while other songs wield ornate orchestras (the French-pop croon “The Turnaround”) and desolate piano for effect. Unlike so many records, though, Wolf’s Law doesn’t lag during its toned-down songs. For The Joy Formidable, restraint is just as potent—and important—as noise.

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