The Joy Formidable reminds listeners music thrives even in the worst of times - Albuquerque Journal

The Joy Formidable reminds listeners music thrives even in the worst of times

Welsh alternative rockers The Joy Formidable are scheduled to play at The Historic El Rey Theater on Wednesday, Oct. 12. (Courtesy of The Joy Formidable)

The Joy Formidable aims to remind people music can always inspire and thrive no matter the times.

The alternative rock band provides listeners with a unique kind of energy, one conscious of current societal emotions, which is exemplified on their latest album, “Into The Blue.”

“We’re faced with circumstances outside of our control … when things kind of melt between the personal and much bigger social, universal kind of experiences,” said lead vocalist and guitarist Ritzy Bryan about how the pandemic and subsequent conditions shaped the album.

The Joy Formidable will be opening for The Front Bottoms at The Historic El Rey Theater on Wednesday, Oct. 12. Though it has been a long time since the band’s last stop in Albuquerque, Bryan says she has great admiration for the state.

“I love New Mexico,” she said. “I like the wildlife and the outdoors.”

Bryan spends part of her year residing in Utah, so she’s close even if the band isn’t playing in the state. The Joy Formidable originally formed in Mold, Flintshire located in north Wales. She said landing in Utah was “very spontaneous” after a road trip with her mother through the Southwest.

“It’s been one of the happiest decisions of my life,” Bryan said about settling in the high desert. “I think I’m a little bit more of a country girl at heart.”

Her musical roots remain in alternative rock, however. The band’s sound is unique, which is consistent with the music that derives from cycles of Welsh acts contributing to the indie scene.

“There’s a lot of really interesting, original music that comes out of Wales,” she said. “Definitely a lot of talent.”

The Joy Formidable has expertly blended the alternative sound and attitude of the ’90s with the genre elements of the modern scene. Throughout their five studio albums, the band’s sound has remained consistent, but their balance and structure has evolved, and that is a testament to their involvement in the whole process from raw to final cut.

“You want to be free with your writing and tell the stories you want to tell. We’ve always been very much at the helm of the production side of things as well,” Bryan said.

Storytelling is an important aspect of The Joy Formidable’s style, and Bryan said she wanted to expose a more vulnerable side of herself on “Into The Blue.”

“I think some of the other records I probably enjoyed playing with words, which sometimes can make things feel a little bit more cryptic,” she said. “With this latest record, I consciously wanted the vocals to be a bit clearer.”

“Into The Blue,” is a complete album, and it’s powered by the band’s own evolution, whether that be through Bryan’s lyrics or compositional experimentation.

Bryan said about the creative process, “What makes us feel kind of quite alive with it is you’re, in some way, even unconsciously, kind of challenging yourself to evolve and look at the world differently.”

The album also offers an encouraging message that can hopefully inspire listeners and audiences to also progress. The Joy Formidable is ready to share their words and notes with Albuquerque.

“I love live music,” Bryan said about performing for audiences. “It’s an opportunity to have a really unique connection together.”

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