THE TIME IS NOW – 2013, in the year of Our Lord, is said to be when guitar music makes its long-awaited comeback.
With albums by the likes of Foals, Frightened Rabbit, Biffy and Everything Everything already setting the standard pretty high, can the Joy Formidable join their ranks in leading the six-stringed charge?
All of the aforementioned records share a sense of the epic – and Wolf’s Law is no exception. The swooning orchestral intro to opener ‘This Ladder Is Ours’ swoops into the album with a touch of the cinematic before a simmering Brit-pop riff sets the pace for all that follows.
Wolf’s Law continues in that realm where sweet but sharp pop meets classic turn- of-the-century Brit-rock - like Ash at their peak, Elastica backed by early Muse or Feeder before their mid-life crisis. The songwriting feels dated a little to the mid-90s but brought racing into the present with shimmering modern production.
None of that matters though when it’s this much fun – but it’s little more than that.
‘Bats’ is a fierce little Queens of the Stone Age desert scorcher while ‘Cholla’ is a bright, breezy but boisterous bubble of summer pop. “Where are going? How do we move on when nothing is growing?” chimes Welsh siren Ritzy. Our sentiments exactly. The answer: nowhere, but very fast.
There’s a confidence, urgency and energy throughout the record that charges Wolf’s Law with an infectious momentum, but the songs just have no real direction.
After spending recent years sharing stages with the likes of Editors and Muse, TJF have clearly got a taste for stadium anthemics and a sound that fills the stage. There are a lot of phat riffs and super-fun bad-assery which will prove pretty explosive come festival season. Alas, on Wolf’s Law The Joy Formidable have set off for Everest but failed to get off the ground. The revolution may have to take place without them.