The Joy Formidable’s second studio album, Wolf’s Law, demands a careful ear. Although the album is approachable in a pop rock sense, it has none of the trappings of pop music: The album is creative, versatile and gives winks and nods to genres of music that grouchy music nerds like yours truly can appreciate! The listener will have a pleasant pop experience but will also enjoy some shoegaze, punk and yes, even some metal moments in this album.

The album opens with “This Ladder is Ours”, which begins some gentle strings before launching into a poppy celebration of a song that could easily be an anthem for the kiddos out there. “Bats”, on the other hand, opens a little darker : A crunchy, distorted guitar riff accents some vocals that aren’t afraid to drip a little venom in the ear. Also check out the heavy metal nod at 2:19 in this song. Is that double bass drums? Yeah. I think it is. And it’s gorgeous. More of this PLEASE indie-pop artists! “The Leopard and the Lung,” opens with some clever piano trills that give way to a triumphant, shoegaze style wall of sound guitar work that made this Mogwai fan smile. The piano hangs on in the song, cutting nicely through the distortion to give the tune balance.

The Joy Formidable is a band with a bright future. Their ability to produce accessible music will give them mainstream access (supporting Muse on their tours won’t hurt either), and their ability to hold on to their alt-rock roots will give them street cred with the indie crowd.

Good stuff here. Have a listen.

’The Leopard and the Lung’
’This Ladder Is Ours’
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