Viola Beach’s name will always be synonymous with tragedy, but at least now we have a document of who this band were
The Joy Formidable
Trust us, the record is well worth waiting for…Sheffield (January 22)
The problem isn’t so much with what they play, it’s more what they don’t play. See, they’ve obviously worked meticulously on these songs in their home studio (much of ‘A Balloon Called Moaning’ was recorded in the couple’s bedroom), layering them up with so much My Bloody Valentine-esque nuance and fuzz, but they seem to struggle to recreate those textures in the live setting. New single ‘Cradle’, for instance, sees them skipping a musical generation and sounding more like a Britpop act – just check out those “Ooh-ooh-ooh” Supergrass-y backing vocals – than a shoegaze-inspired pop outfit. No wonder the group of lads moshing gingerly at the front seem to think they’re at an Oasis gig.
Closing track ‘Austere’ – just that on record but totally flat tonight – completes the malaise, with Bryan forgetting to direct her mouth at the microphone as she does battle with her stomp-boxes while the track peters out instead of reaching its peak. And the petulant fashion in which the singer then kicks over the mic stand and departs the stage as her bandmates finish the song suggests we’re not the only one left disappointed by what we’ve heard from The Joy Formidable this evening.
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