The Joy Formidable: ‘Hitch’

April 7, 2016


Staff Reporter| djn002@ latech.edu




On The Joy Formidable’s previous two albums, sustaining momentum has occasionally been an issue. This is especially prevalent in their third album “Hitch.”



The album isn’t quite as track-for-track fresh as their debut, and it also lacks the kind of precise, thematic heft of “Wolf’s Law,” their sophomore LP.



The band’s signature brand of distorted, epic sound does remain intact, but the songs just don’t hang together as well as in previous efforts. However, despite this messiness, “Hitch”contains a considerable amount of successes.



“A Second in White” is a fine way to open the album. Like the best tracks in their discography, this one  finds the same sweet spot between noise and pop that the band’s previous openers have possessed. Its propulsive drums and themes of uncertain newness set a spontaneous tone well; the song possesses the overall feel of starting on a blank page.



What follows are several crowd pleasers which seem to indicate a great direction for the album. The two songs following, “Radio of Love” and the lead single “You’re the Last Thing on My Mind,” show the band streamlining their focus as they successfully work through a persistent issue with their music: self-indulgent length.



A more pronounced concern for tunefulness and memorability over their usual languishing, dissonant stylings marks direction of the first half of “Hitch.” These two tracks, each over six minutes long, keep the album going briskly on without missing a step.



After this near-perfect opening suite, there are some other scattered standout tracks, but “Hitch” does list into a sort of happy holding pattern after this. “The Brook,” is the best of these tracks with lead singer Ritzy Brian deftly belting out some Florence Welch-esque lyrics and vocals.



The straightforward closer, “Don’t Let Me Know,” is preceded by an Asian-tinged standout “Blowing Fire.” The lyrics, “It’s coming to a head, quit screwing around,” seem to indicate that the band knows where they have been and where they are going.


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