The Big Roar

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The Big Roar
Studio album by The Joy Formidable
Released 24 January 2011
Genre Alternative rock, indie rock, shoegazing, dream pop
Length 49:53
Label Atlantic
Producer The Joy Formidable, Rich Costey, Neak Menter
The Joy Formidable chronology
A Balloon Called Moaning
(2008)A Balloon Called Moaning2008
The Big Roar
Singles from The Big Roar
  1. "Austere"
    Released: 10 January 2008
  2. "Cradle"
    Released: 2 February 2009
  3. "Whirring"
    Released: May 2009
  4. "Popinjay"
    Released: 5 April 2010
  5. "I Don't Want To See You Like This"
    Released: 8 October 2010
  6. "A Heavy Abacus"
    Released: 8 July 2011

The Big Roar is the debut album by Welsh rock band the Joy Formidable, released in the UK on January 24, 2011 on Atlantic Records, with a US release following on March 15, 2011.[1] The tracks "Austere", "Cradle", "Whirring" and "The Greatest Light Is the Greatest Shade" were originally featured on the band's debut mini album A Balloon Called Moaning.[2] These songs were re-recorded for The Big Roar.

Background and recording[edit]

In summer 2010, the band signed with Canvasback Records, a subsidiary of Atlantic. The band worked on writing and tracking the material for The Big Roar when they were not on tour. The album was recorded in London.[3]

On the album, bassist Rhydian Dafydd said that "(it) covers a lot of emotional range. It's captured the battle between the eternal optimist and the manic depressive". Their debut was produced by the band, with help from engineer Neak Menter. The band traveled to Los Angeles to mix it with producer Rich Costey, who had worked with bands such as Mew, Muse, Foo Fighters and Glasvegas. The first single from those sessions, "I Don't Want to See You Like This", was released in the autumn of 2010.[3] The Japanese release of the album contains three exclusive bonus tracks.[4]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AbsolutePunk (84%) link
Allmusic 4/5 stars link
Contactmusic 8/10 stars link
BBC Music (very positive) link
Drowned in Sound 7/10 stars link
NME 8/10 link
Clash 8/10 stars link
The Guardian 3/5 stars link
Pitchfork 6.8/10 link
Spin 8/10 link

The Big Roar has received mostly positive reviews. The album currently has a 77 out of 100 on the review aggregate site Metacritic, which indicates "generally favorable reviews."[5]

Reviewer Mike Haydock of BBC Music praised the album, calling it "a fantastic debut".[6] Lisa Wright of NME also gave the album a positive review, writing, "The Big Roar is the kind of epic-yet-intimate debut that does exactly what its title makes out in the most tactful of styles; an LP that ultimately delivers on every count on the four years of promise leading up to it".[2] In another positive review, Clash wrote of the album: "Bolt on an undeniably zealous execution, a set of simple yet well-written songs, add an element of confident adventure via some experimentation and diversity and the rebirth of indie may just have found its leading protagonists".[7]

In a more mixed review, Stuart Berman of Pitchfork criticized the album for being excessive, writing, "There's no denying the Joy Formidable's passion, vigor, and pop smarts; it would just be easier to appreciate those qualities if The Big Roar didn't so often sound like a big blur".[8] Jason Keller of Now Magazine agreed, writing, "The immediate criticism about this long-in-the-making debut... is that there’s too much big, as the title suggests".[9]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "The Everchanging Spectrum of a Lie" Rhydian Davies, Ritzy Bryan The Joy Formidable, Neak Menter 7:44
2. "The Magnifying Glass" Davies, Bryan The Joy Formidable, Neak Menter 2:19
3. "I Don't Want to See You Like This" Davies, Bryan The Joy Formidable, Neak Menter 4:18
4. "Austere" Davies, Bryan The Joy Formidable, Neak Menter 3:30
5. "A Heavy Abacus" Davies, Bryan The Joy Formidable, Neak Menter 3:40
6. "Whirring" Davies, Bryan Rich Costey 6:47
7. "Buoy" Davies, Bryan The Joy Formidable, Neak Menter 4:51
8. "Maruyama" Davies, Bryan The Joy Formidable, Neak Menter 1:46
9. "Cradle" Davies, Bryan Rich Costey 2:46
10. "Llaw = Wall" Davies, Bryan The Joy Formidable, Neak Menter 3:44
11. "Chapter 2" Davies, Bryan The Joy Formidable, Neak Menter 3:08
12. "The Greatest Light Is the Greatest Shade" Davies, Bryan The Joy Formidable, Neak Menter 5:20


The Joy Formidable
  • Ritzy Bryan – Vocals, guitar
  • Rhydian Dafydd – Bass, vocals (10)
  • Matt Thomas – Drums
  • Rich Costey – Mixing, producer
  • Neak Menter – Mixing, producer
Design personnel
  • Rhydian Dafydd - Illustrations
  • Jeremy Cowart – Photography
  • Danny North – Photography
  • Alex Kirzhner – Layout


Chart (2011) Peak
Billboard Heatseekers Albums[10] 8
UK Albums Chart[11] 31


  1. ^ The Joy Formidable announce debut album release date and tracklisting. NME. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  2. ^ a b Wright, Lisa. Album Review: The Joy Formidable. NME. Retrieved 10 June 2011
  3. ^ a b The Joy Formidable - Full Biography. MTV. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
  4. ^ Joy Formidable, The - The Big Roar on Discogs
  5. ^ The Big Roar: Reviews. Metacritic. Retrieved on 10 June 2011.
  6. ^ Haydock, Mike. Review of The Joy Formidable - The Big Roar. BBC Music. Retrieved 10 June 2011
  7. ^ The Joy Formidable - The Big Roar. Clash. Retrieved 10 June 2011
  8. ^ The Joy Formidable: The Big Roar. Pitchfork. Retrieved 10 June 2011
  9. ^ Joy Formidable - The Big Roar. Now Magazine. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  10. ^ "Artist Chart History - The Joy Formidable". Billboard. Retrieved 10 June 2011. 
  11. ^ "JOY FORMIDABLE - The Official Charts Company". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 10 June 2011. 

External links[edit]