No Joy spends plenty of time on More Faithful staking out the poles that define the band’s sound: heavy and light.
It’s a band that can make both ethereal and intense work, in the same song cycle or even the same song, and they leverage that contrast and tension effectively.
With the black-and-white album cover (a tangle of bodies no less) pointing the way, More Faithful pulls the listener back and forth, from crushing, head-banging tunes to calming and pristine ones. It’s a jarring rather than smooth listen, but that’s exactly the point from a band that places premium value on the pattern of tension and release.
“Remember Nothing” starts with buzzsaw guitars from Jasamine White-Gluz and Laura Lloyd, with a pummeling rhythm section of drummer Garland Hastings and bassist Michael Farsky. And just as soon as the waves of noise subside, “Everything New” takes their place, a jangly, melodic song, with reverb dialed high on the guitar and vocals. Then an undercurrent of heavier guitar jumps in, pointing the way to the fuzzy power pop of “Hollywood Teeth.”
The furthest the band gets in either direction are the sludgy “Chalk Snake” and the atmospheric “Moon in my Mouth.” Elsewhere, songs—“Corpo Daemon” and “Judith” especially—manage to blend together both impulses, the power of cranked amps and the beauty of White-Gluz’s high and haunting vocals.
On an album of extremes, what’s most remarkable is the fact that the band always maintains control over those sonic transformations. Whether awash in noise or floating airily, No Joy sounds like no one else but itself.