It’s true that by 2018 the new economic realities of the streaming era were very much upon us, but The Joy Formidable setting the TJF Music Club – a facility for the band’s fans to access exclusive content for a monthly subscription – still seems like remarkably good planning. Since then the pandemic has shredded the live music scene which had become the only means of survival for many artists, meaning the whole process of making a new record has become a riskier business than ever. Unless of course you have a way to cut out the middleman.
Originally from Wales, the trio – singer/guitarist Ritzy, bass player Rhydian Dafydd and drummer Matthew Thomas – have spent most of their time recently in Utah and their the natural beauty of their surroundings is an inspiration to songs like Interval and Sevier, the latter named after a north flowing river; at times life for Bryan especially has felt like that.
Into The Blue isn’t a break up album, although Bryan has used the ghosts of a previous toxic relationship as inspiration, most directly on Gotta Feed My Dog. But more expansively the themes as the title track suggests are about embracing change, fate and new experiences as unique opportunities for growth, all fanned to a backdrop of the boldest, outward reaching music the band have made in years. It helps when you’ve got something to fall back on of course, but in The Joy Formidable’s case, freedom never sounded so good.
You can read a full review here.