When you first cue up Joy Formidable’s short EP Silent Treatment, you immediately have the pleasure of listening to the work of English musician/composer/producer William Orbit. Orbit has won multiple Grammy awards for his work on Madonna’s Ray of Light and has also collaborated with British indie legends Blur. This is what you call reaching the big time for a band out of the little known section of the U.K. by the way of Wales. I mean, what’s Wales really known for anyway? Weird indie movies like Richard Ayoade’s Submarine? Their women’s strange and inexplicable love for Tom Jones and David Hasselhoff? I personally know it because of a few naughty nannies that hail from this random country but that’s another story for another time. His work here is on the title track Silent Treatment, which is a heartfelt song that’s about finally getting over someone. In the original, the band only plays acoustic guitars on the track and this allows Ritzy’s (lead singer and guitarist) lyrics and emotion to take center stage. However in Orbit’s version, his addition of a drum beat, piano, and overall production gives it a cleaner feel and turns it into an almost danceable track. I’m not usually a fan of remixes but in this case it actually works out for the best.
If you don’t have much experience with Joy, they bring high energy with almost a grungy sound to your speakers. Ritzy is great as the lead and she has the ability to rip it on the distorted guitar. This EP however shows the more quiet and mellow side of Joy which they have been known to also feature on their albums. They aren’t afraid to slow things down a bit by adding in pianos and electronic keyboards to their songs and this is shown on the album’s third track All the Promise. It’s a nice little song that’s all piano and keys and it ends with Ritzy repeatedly proclaiming that she is more than just a number. But for those that prefer the high energy Joy Formidable, this song simply serves as a nice transition to the EP’s final song Tendons.
The live version of Tendons gives you a preview of what they’re really all about if this is your introduction into their world. It starts off with Ritzy conversing with the crowd and due to her thick accent you can’t understand a word she is saying; which of course only makes her hotter to this particularly lonely fan! This is right before she starts tearing into the powerful chords with her light and pleasant voice perfectly complimenting them. I appreciate it when female vocalist stay in their lane so to speak, and don’t try too hard to be punk or overly masculine. It just comes off rather comical when they do, ask Sheryl Crow when she went through her Chris Gaines phase. I like this EP and I strongly suggest that you get their latest album Wolf’s Law as well.