Going Mobile: The Joy Formidable's Ritzy Bryan Talks New Album, 'Aaarth'

[from left] Matt Thomas, Ritzy Bryan and Rhydian Dafydd (Image credit: Timothy Hiatt)

Aaarth, the fourth studio album by the Joy Formidable, continues the Welsh trio’s creative guitar-centric evolution. The album, a testament to the band’s flexible, daring approach to the guitar, fearlessly dives deep into a layered labyrinth of sound. According to guitarist-vocalist Ritzy Bryan, the band was in a tough, emotional place when they approached Aaarth (a title that references “arth,” the Welsh word for bear) — but they stepped up, pulling some of their most creative work to date out of a truly challenging time.

“There’s a lot of emotion in the writing process, and how you channel that can be a precarious thing,” Bryan says. “So we decided that we needed to make this record, that we couldn’t walk away. I think that opened the door on this outpouring of grievance mixed with relief. Then that turned into something quite playful as well. We started recording Aaarth with this collage-esque, free experimental approach, instruments coming and going, and lots of hidden textures that duck in and out like a Beach Boys record. Nothing was stiff or over-thought, and I think we needed that — and that way of creating together — to get out of ourselves and how we were feeling.”

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Laura B. Whitmore

Laura B. Whitmore is a music industry marketing veteran, music journalist and editor, writing for Parade.com, Guitar World, and others. She has interviewed hundreds of musicians and hosts the She Rocks Podcast. As the founder of the Women’s International Music Network, she advocates for women in the music industry and produces the annual She Rocks Awards. She is the Senior Vice President of Marketing for Positive Grid, making the world safe for guitar exploration everywhere! A guitarist and singer/songwriter, Laura is currently co-writing an album of pop songs that empower and energize girls.