Anyone who has read Panethos for an extended period of time probably has figured out that I love rock music, particularly alternative rock and indie rock. Call me a creature of habit, but ever since my first Beatles, Monkees, and Aerosmith albums, I have been a loyal rocker.
Today, being a loyal rocker in the United States is harder work that it used to be, as corporate radio tends to blare soulless pop, semi-fake patriotic country, classic rock, or angry bass-laden rap. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing bad about classic rock other than it is a tacit form of acceptance of being past one’s prime when it comes to age and willingness to endeavor into new music and artists. Well, not for this rocker.
Sometime in 2011 shortly after the release of The Big Roar, I discovered the Welsh band, The Joy Formidable and it was the equivalent of love at first listen – catchy melodies combined with superb guitar riffs and a dazzling lead singer/guitarist in Rhiannon “Ritzy” Bryan whose voice carried their powering songs with grace and ease. After their second full-length release, Wolf’s Law, I was honored to see them perform a scorching and scintillating set at a small club (The Loft) in Lansing, Michigan.
On March 25th, The Joy Formidable’s third full-length CD was released, entitled Hitch. It does not disappoint in any way, shape, or form. In fact, it lifts the aura of the band to new heights of excellence. Among the aspects that enthrall me are the lengthier tracks, a la albums as they used to be in the 1970s – personally, I am tired of paying $9.99 or more for barely 40 minutes of music, so an album that extends to over an hour without fluff or filler is quite a nice change of pace.
Secondly, the songs on this album are a wonderful mix of rockin’ guitar lashes, head-banging rich melodies, and powerful ballads. It’s just about perfect as a rock album could be including an inspired cover photograph that shows Ritzy’s sheer joy and zest for life in a single photograph. I do hope the photographer got a raise for that shot. Many kudos to The Joy Formidable on their superb effort with Hitch. I like every song on the album, but my favorites are
- “Fog (Black Windows)” – perhaps my favorite TJF song of all time.
- “The Last Thing on My Mind”
- “The Brook”
- “The Gift”
- “Underneath the Petal”