Joy Formidable prepared to heat up San Francisco 

click to enlarge Snowbound: The Joy Formidable — from left, Rhydian Dafydd, Ritzy Bryan and Matt Thomas — recorded its latest album, “Tendons,” in a log cabin in chilly Maine. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Snowbound: The Joy Formidable — from left, Rhydian Dafydd, Ritzy Bryan and Matt Thomas — recorded its latest album, “Tendons,” in a log cabin in chilly Maine.

There’s a furnace-hot blast of warmth rising from “Wolf’s Law” — the upcoming sophomore salvo from Welsh power trio The Joy Formidable — in the bass-heavy “Tendons,” the tribal stomper “The Maw Maw Song” and the plush, orchestral first single, “This Ladder is Ours.” Ironically, most of it was recorded in a tiny log cabin in Maine, 30 miles outside the nearest town, in ice-cold January earlier this year.

“Have you ever been to Maine in the dead of winter?” vocalist-guitarist Ritzy Bryan asks rhetorically. “It. Is. Intense.”

Why such a desolate location? A happy accident, swears Bryan, who will preview “Wolf” material at The Chapel on Tuesday. Last Thanksgiving, the band wound up in Portland, Maine, with a canceled gig. So it stuck around for a week, and liked what it saw.

“It was beautiful. There aren’t many people around, and that really appeals to my aesthetic,” she says. So the band returned, rented its Thoreau-ish retreat and — using the same portable recording studio on which they recorded their debut EP and full-length follow-up, “The Big Roar” — started tracking all of the material it had been composing on tour.

Soon, Bryan was snowed in under 9-foot drifts. But she was so focused on the album, she barely noticed. “We didn’t really need to go out,” she says. “We had plenty of wood for fires, and we were rationing our food — we learned how to make one chicken last for a week and a half. And there was no Internet, which I welcomed, and there were only three stations on the cabin TV. So the only thing that was fairly watchable was ‘Judge Judy.’”

The nature-loving Bryan also began incorporating Native American mythology into her work. As Bryan sees it, there was only one downside to the chilly Maine sessions.

“We didn’t see a moose, and I was dreadfully disappointed by that,” she says. “The way the Maine tourist board operates, you’d think there’d be one on every corner!”

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Tom Lanham

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