[sic] Magazine

The Joy Formidable – A balloon called moaning

Peel placed it Number One in his Festive 50 that year and said; “Even if they never made another record, they’ll have achieved more than most of us do in our entire lives.” It was ‘Geek Love’, the self-financed debut single by obscure indie act Bang Bang Machine. Somehow for me The Joy Formidable evoke the spirit of that lost, 1992 gem more than any other band since, Bang Bang Machine themselves included (their following album only serving to prove Peelie right).

The Joy Formidable are a female-fronted indie pop trio from Wales. Their music is that classic fusion of sultry yelps, melodic hooks and dazzling power chords. No navel gazing here. This is extrovert indie. Giddingly triumphant stuff. And feminine too. In so many ways. A band is much more than just its lead singer of course. And yet a lead singer is much more than just a lead singer. The eyes are said to be the windows to the soul and thus Ritzy Bryan is our portal into the world of The Joy Fomidable. Theirs is a femininity that goes far beyond the obvious good looks (yes she is a doll) It has far more to do with mystery, allure and quirkiness. Indie-chick chic! Their music has all of this and much more..

A ballon called moaning is not really thier debut album proper. The clever things are releasing this as a “mini-album”, a showcase for newbies, or a catch-up bundle for those who missed early singles such as ‘Austere’, ‘Whirring’ and ‘Cradle’. ‘The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade’, is the greatest way they could have possible kicked things off. Exultant (retro) electro keys fanfare the song into life, before guitars take charge and Ritzy will eventally take over the hook-line chorus and with it, totally own the listener.

“Destroy this, destroy this, destroying this,
with a telescope now“

I don’t know either but it sounds sensational.

Each of the eight tracks on ‘Balloon….’ merit a purchase by themselves. I noticed one gaff in the tracklisting though. Sixth song ‘The Last Drop’ (probably my favourite) is listed as ‘9669’ whilst the seventh track, undoubtedly the real ‘9669’, is titled ‘The Last Drop’. No matter.. They’re both brilliant and both positioned accurately ( The more acoustic ‘9669’ perfectly placed as penultimate track)

In the post-Cocteau world I have seen plenty of next bright things come, flatter to deceive and slip away into obscurity once again. A Fatal Charm, The Heart Throbs, Cranes, The Sundays…. These are not references particularly, (well, maybe the Heart Throbs as they were ace) The Cardigans would probably be the lazy hacks tag of choice. If you remember ‘Geek Love’ or Curves ‘Horror Head’ you’re closer. The Joy Formidable are more Ting Tings with My Vitriol guitars. Take that thought and rip it up. This trio may have taken old ingredients but they’re making a whole new cake. I think they are here to stay. Yes it’s bubblegum listening at times. Isn’t there a place for that though? Your stereo for instance. Or a gig. The Joy Formidable have played with Passion Pit, Editors, The Boxer Rebellion and The Temper Trap making fans of those lauded bands very happy indeed. They have also recorded with [sic] Magazine friend, Paul Draper of Mansun. (You can hear and grab ‘Greyhounds In The Slips’ from their myspace.)

“How come it’s all around me?”
The Last Drop

Go figure Ritzy, go figure. I’d say it’s all ahead of you too. Go make us proud.



Paul Draper interview