14 May 2015

Joanna Gruesome / Peanut Butter (album review)

Chances are, you're reading this review because I tweeted the link four or five times, and you just wanted me to stop. And if that's true, and you're following me on twitter, chances are you're also at an age where you're currently asphyxiated by exams and drowning in stress, right? Well, if that's the case, THIS HERE IS YOUR CURE, Joanna Gruesome's second LP Peanut Butter.

JOANNA GRUESOME ... Peanut Butter (Fortuna Pop)

It's a tad more grown up than their last LP, Weird Sister, but it's still absolutely crammed with angst, screechy guitars, and loud bit/quiet bit vocals, so it's still the perfect record to put on and escape from all that shitty exam stress in a bubble of bubblegum-punk rock.

I think what really made me excited for this LP was last year's lead single; Psykick Espionage, which they put out at as a split 7' inside a comic book, with Perfect Pussy. Psykick Espionage is two minutes of intense shouting a socks-knocking-off guitar riff. And it's also #3 on our songs of the year 2k 15 list, so the point is it's pretty fucking great.

But anyway, like, 8 months on, here were and it's included on the band's sophomore LP, along with uhhh 20 other minutes of music in the shape of 9 other songs.

Peanut Butter has a nice amount of variety. Last Year is every bit as pummeling as Psykick Espionage, and Don't Wanna Relax begins with some heavy guitarry white noise, that sounds a bit like Pandora's Box probably did, before the stormy sounds clear for what is actually one of the band's most melodic numbers.

Although I'd probably, if I had to, describe Joanna Gruesome, with a genre, I'd say they were definitely in the realm of punk but it's the nice, pretty, melodic songs - which make sure that Peanut Butter is the really dynamic varied album it is - are amongst the best. Hey! I Wanna Be Yr Best Friend is maybe even my favourite song on the whole entire album, and Jamie (Luvver) has some of the loveliest harmonies you're likely to find in guitar music. In fact, on the whole, Alanna McArdle's voice is fantastic, filling the LPs with really gorgeous vocal hooks.

Hmm, see I probably prefer their debut, which is one of my favourite records of the past 3 or 4 years, and how it's pretty much a caricature of teen angst (because I am an angsty teen), but this isn't far off. It's still got that sort of feel to it, but it's much easier for the unangst-riddled unteen to listen to, as even during the punky fast numbers it's an incredibly melodic record with it's jingly-jangly C86 indie sound. It's another great album by a great band, another great bit of record production by MJ (from Hookworms), and most of all it's the perfect 22 minute long exam stress antidote.


[written by calum cashin]