Don’t call The Joy Formidable’s third album, “Hitch,” a break-up record. True, the album, which dropped at the end of March, is the Welsh rock trio’s first since singer and guitarist Rhiannon " Ritzy" Bryan split-up with co-founding bassist Rhydian Dafydd. But, says Bryan, things were all good by the time they began recording in their native North Wales last year.
“It’s been a while now since Rhyd and I split up. That all happened during the tour for the last record in 2014,” Bryan says. “It was hard for a while during the tour, but we worked through it. This is not a breakup album. We definitely didn’t want to make one of those.”
Indeed, there’s not a teary ballad in sight and the trio, which includes drummer Matthew James Thomas, sound fiery and feisty. As they say, what doesn’t break you makes you stronger, but there was a dark period, which affected more than Bryan and Dafydd.
“We were together for seven years, so there was all the initial pain. We did our grieving during the last tour. But Matt was affected too — he felt like a part of his family had broken up. He went through it as much as us, in a way. He didn’t know whether it was going to be antagonistic, or what the fallout would be.”
Thankfully , there was none. Besides, the business wrangling going on behind the scenes as the band’s infrastructure — record label and management — fell apart, galvanized the three. T he band recognized they needed space and headed home to North Wales to recoup, rebuild and record, just the three of them.
“It did us a lot of good to go home and pull the shutters down. It brings out the best in everybody to be in an environment where you feel free to experiment and go outside yourself,” says Bryan of creating “Hitch.” “There’s an element of lost love to the record and it chronicles change, but it also includes exciting elements of change. But the record is also us celebrating the fact that we kept on keeping on. It’s celebrating still being a group: It celebrates tenacity and true friendship.”
If you go:
April 12 at 7 p.m.
Paradise Rock Club
967 Commonwealth Ave.
April 14 at 7 p.m.
17 Irving Place
April 15 at 7 p.m.
1200 Callowhill St.