In late 2010 a lot of bands were working to conjure up the ghosts of Kevin Shields and Miki Berenyi as the indie rock subculture of shoegaze only continued to gain more and more traction. Not many did it as well as Montreal’s No Joy. Fronted by the guitar/vocal duo of Laura Lloyd and Jasamine White, the band convincingly captures the gloriously fuzzy, effects-covered sound of the shoegaze era, but escapes being mere copycats by adding a wonderfully spooky atmosphere and by writing hooky, easy to swallow melodies. They also vary the sound from track to track (a trick many of the original shoegaze bands never picked up), have a firm grasp of loud/quiet dynamics, and show as much affinity for the sprawl of mid-period Sonic Youth ("Pacific Pride") as they do for the drifting waves of My Bloody Valentine ("Indigo Child"). With mixing done by another gaze revivalist who knows exactly what he’s doing, the Raveonettes' Sune Rose Wagner, the band’s debut album is an exhilarating listen no matter if you’re a longtime lover of the sound or if it’s your first time hearing guitars pedaled to death. It’s a blast to hear the group dish out uptempo mixtape staples-to-be like "Heedless" (which chimes epically like classic Swervedriver) and "Still," and the longer, less insistent tracks like "Indigo Child" and "Ghost Blonde" add a layer of melancholy to the sound that goes down just right. Any band can go out, buy the right pedals (or dial up the right effects on a computer), and come up with a reasonable facsimile of the shoegaze sound, but it takes a band with extra skill and imagination to make it sound fresh and vital like No Joy do on Ghost Blonde.
by Tim Sendra