Since the release of 2016’s brooding, hulking 'Hitch', The Joy Formidable have largely taken their destiny into their own hands. These days they write, record and produce their own music without outside interference, releasing a good deal exclusively of it to their online fan club.
That independence and a new sense of purpose re-energised the trio on last record ‘Aaarth’, a kaleidoscopic adventure through their past to a powerful present. On new LP ‘Into the Blue’, the band get a bit stuck. The title-track is a glorious swirl of tumbling vocals and crashing waves of shoegaze guitar, but as they hark back to the cacophony of early records some of the sparkle is absent; a few tracks hang around too long without leaving enough of an impression.
Heavy metal riffs and guitar histrionics abound which will please fans who love them at their loudest, but others may miss the melancholia and melodic nous that anchors their best material.