Formed in 2010, Cardiff noise pop outfit Joanna Gruesome are notorious for their infectious union of punk fuelled contortion and disturbing indie melodies. If Kate Jackson joined Los Campesinos! this barking undercurrent would naturally form. BBC 6Music admire them. NME front-covered them. The Welsh Music Prize even adored them. Following the tribulations and anger of debut ‘Weird Sister’, Joanna Gruesome welcome ‘Peanut Butter’ to the world. Cue break-ups, narcotics and smiles. The saviours have landed.
The youthful exuberance that resonates plainly is key to Joanna Gruesome’s ballsy animation. Within the first five minutes ‘Last Year’ – gritty, biting, explosive, no amount of superlatives truly express the experience felt on the album’s opener – and ‘Honestly Do Yr Worst’ – Libertines to the core, a wall of sound so harsh the playground narratives below occasionally become lost – cement the inclination of what ‘Peanut Butter’ is all about.
Joanna Gruesome concentrate their repressed energy throughout the crux of each tormenting sound-bite of abrasive punk. A compulsion for the unheralded paragons of the mid 00s alternative movements possesses the sound to such anarchic extents, flashbacks instantaneously awaken through each track within the intoxicating release.
‘Psykick Espionage’ – brittle stabs customarily emerge from the distant Standard Fare tarnished Long Blonde intensities that typify front-woman Alanna McArdle’s strident voice – ‘There is No Function Stacy’ – another from the Joanna Gruesome school of oneminutesomething wonderments, bassist Max Warren and guitarists George Nicholls and Owen Williams combine to forcefully generate a score befitting of a low-fi Warsaw track – and ‘Jamie (Luvver)’ – feedback drizzled from the off, the quintet rely on David Sanford’s often broken beats to intensify the two chord progression berating throughout – are advocates of this notion; a collage of disorientating shoe-gaze entangling with regulated bursts of battering British punk.
Momentarily assurances that the disorder has terminated quickly relapse back into the mayhem that is 25 minutes with Gruesome. ‘Crayon’ promises to be a first venture of melancholia; only for the bipolar irregularity of its darkened eruptions to impose once more. ‘Hey! I Wanna Be Yr Best Friend’ – ‘Peanut Butter’s finale – irrevocably adheres. “Walk home with me, I need somebody that’s louder than me, honestly,” paints the tired thoughts of aSunday morning friendship built upon a lusting of substance and abandonment.
‘Peanut Butter’s core allure naturally resides within its relationship with early 20s alternative aficionados. Discussing broken ardour within the bursting ‘Separate Bedrooms'; the fractured romance with someone cleverer than you within ‘Jerome (Liar)’ – the angst felt within McArdle’s raucous vocals now a centrepiece of their second album – and the aggressionn of ‘I Don’t Wanna Relax’ – urgent with the tumbling chords continually falling within bursts of a brazen Allo Darlin composition – it epitomises everything this generation feel.
Resentment. Anger. Vengeance. Ecstacy. Joanna Gruesome have documented it all.