This CD cover image released by Canvasback/ATL shows “Wolf’s Law,” by The Joy Formidable. (AP Photo/Canvasback/ATL)
The Joy Formidable, “Wolf’s Law” (Atlantic)
Two years after The Joy Formidable barreled to the fringe of the rock mainstream with the lush and brute “The Big Roar,” the [auth] Welsh trio returns with an even bigger and squalling encore. “Wolf’s Law” is the arrival of a headliner.
It’s a deserved reward. This is wonderfully noisy and hooky, shimmering with guitar-pop accessibility. So what if standouts such as “Maw Maw Song” and the whirlwind “Bats” have the nagging feeling of sounding familiar — maybe a head-bopper from the alt-rock heyday of the ’90s or another Brit rocker making massive songs for arenas like touring mates Muse. In the voice and guitar-hammering hands of frontwoman Ritzy Bryan, surprises (usually loud ones) are around every corner.
In the opener “This Ladder is Ours,” Bryan begins with an inviting “Let’s take this walk/It’s long overdue.” She isn’t kidding. Where was an exciting rocker like this in 2012, and how soon before we can have another?