Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Joy Formidable - Everything Everything -- 9:30 Club - Apr 13 2016

by John Miller

Everything Everything - The band are supporting their third release, Get to Heaven tonight, opening for headliners The Joy Formidable. And judging from the significant amount of praise the album has received, they are destined to be Great Britain's next big thing (though the English seem to anoint that title on at least three separate bands a year). The looping and heavy use of computers, get the crowd riled up almost immediately. It's an interesting set up; there are no less than three keyboards that layer their compositions; a mix of progressive, pop, hip hop, and EDM. The guitars are rich and approachable. Unlike the more complicated keyboards, they keep Everything Everything grounded ; an anchor of sorts that prevents the group from floating away with the occasional glam inspired solo. The drums too, are often just that, approachable. The prog-rock leanings would lead one to believe that wouldn't be the case but the multiple keyboards take care of the more frantic and progressive. On more than one occasion, I hear patches that feel as if they were directly lifted from Yes or King Crimson. The slow, deliberate synth sounds often find themselves leading into repeating arpeggios. Jonathan Riggs, the lead vocalist, has quite the impressive range, often singing in a strong falsetto. He is reminiscent of Patrick Stump though relying less on his nasal cavities and you know; better. His range is impressive to say the least. The melodies are often complex; moving from mouthfuls, to the sparse. In fact everything is complicated. There is so much going on but the truly amazing part is despite the tendency for some progressive acts to have their heads far up their collective asses, Everything Everything somehow makes their songs approachable enough to clap along to, dance to. 
The Joy Formidable - A half note, followed by triplets; repeat. It's simple, more so than anything from the previous set. It's as if The Joy Formidable are letting the audience know this is what we plan to lean on, so get prepared to dance. And that simple phrase does just that, repeats; something to hang on to while the guitars and drums kick in, something to fall back on just in case. The second song begins much as the last did; with a simple phrase. It is surprising that the two were played back to back. Is not often that you hear songs so similarly structured played in quick succession. Their next piece quickly explodes, the hand holding comes to an end as the drums crash. And just like that we are off to the races. The solos were particularly inspired. I tend to be partial to acts that talk in between songs. I love the stories, especially those that border on nonsensical, ones that, at best, have a questionable connections. The Joy Formidable are in rare form tonight, often rambling on for several minutes in between songs (topics range from Cuba to dog biscuits). Suffice it say, the soliloquies were varied tonight. I may be remembering the band wrong, but The Joy Formidable kind of remind me of 90s one hit wonders, Republica. I know that may be an easy comparison, considering both are female led and English but there is something about the occasional distortion and undeniable pop layered with loud guitars and booming drums. And I don’t mean for the comparison to come off as disparaging, it’s just the first thing that came to mind. Though as I continue to think about it, I may be wrong. Regardless, it’s a good set and a nice compliment to the more complicated structures from earlier.

No comments: