Joanna Gruesome – Peanut Butter
Cardiff’s finest mess returns with another twenty-one minutes of explosive noisepop. Not much to show for two years’ work, you might think, but if only more groups were this brilliantly concise; J-Gro get more right across this action-packed second offering than most bands do throughout entire careers.
Short-fused opener Last Year sets the tone, all menacing yelps and nervous tics before slamming into an incendiary chorus, with Owen Williams and Alanna McArdle’s dual murmurs a superbly soft and melodic yin to the band’s raging punk yang. Williams claims this record is lyrically more obtuse than predecessor Weird Sister, but when vocals are buried this deep in deafening fuzz, we’ll have to take his word for it. Instead thrill to the chest-swelling refrain of Psykick Espionage and a seriously addictive arrangement of Black Terror‘s Separate Bedrooms – voluminous magic poised equidistant between cuddlecore and hardcore. Crunchy, smooth, whatever: Peanut Butter is a refreshing antidote to indie rock’s traditional sophomore slump. [Will Fitzpatrick]