That’s the quick take on singer/guitarist Ritzy Bryan and the Joy Formidable, the Wales-formed, London-based trio she fronts.
The band’s name? Not ironic. There was sonic turmoil and some gnarly sounds Tuesday at a nearly sold-out Brighton Music Hall, but the pleasure principle was stoked throughout the 65-minute set.
No one will confuse Bryan with the pack of chirpy, dance-pop Brit gals hitting our shores. She was effervescent, bantering with the crowd and chatting up the charity for the homeless the band supports. But the Joy Formidable gets inspiration from such early-’90s shoegaze bands as Ride, Lush and Swervedriver. Its sound is something of a melodic cacophony.
Bryan, bassist-singer Rhydian Dafydd and drummer Matt Thomas did play with a lot of foot pedals. But, the original shoegazers were gauzy noisemakers who shunned showmanship. Not these folks. Bryan — a pert, diminutive blonde in a naughty schoolmarm dress — and Dafydd jerked about as if struck by lightning, making the show a visual, kinetic experience. You got the sense that Thomas, a hyperactive basher, would have done the same had he not been rooted to his kit.
The concert began with the minimalist, seven-minute “The Everchanging Spectrum of a Lie,” which built from a whisper and a drum pulse to a full-throttle scream. (The lie concerns love, if you were wondering.) It laid the groundwork for a set where you might not have understood the singer’s lyrics, but you couldn’t miss the sweet snarl of her guitar.
The Joy Formidable released its debut EP, “A Balloon Called Moaning,” last year and recently released its first full-length, “The Big Roar.” (Again, no irony in titles.) They played nine of the new release’s 10 tracks (four are revisions of “Moaning” songs) and two from the EP: “9669” and “Greyhounds in the Slips.” The peak came at the close of the regular set, with the delicate-into-chaotic “9669” and the blissful, My Bloody Valentine-like blitz of “Whirring.”
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