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Joanna Gruesome – Peanut Butter

7.5

I can’t think of a band that does a better job than Joanna Gruesome at clearly enunciating its mission, then deftly executing on it. Its crash pop formula already firmly in place for 2013’s excellent debut Weird Sister, with Peanut Butter the Welsh quintet aims to up the ante on both their aggressive and their pop elements. Mission accomplished right out of the gate, with opener “Last Year.” The same reference points as before remain relevant: a supremely pissed off Veronica Falls, or for Anglophile completists, mid ’80s supernova the Shop Assistants.

No amount of crackling guitars can deface the sublime vocal interplay between Alanna McArdle and Owen Williams on tracks like “Jamie” and “Crayon,” however. McArdle’s high register is borderline angelic, a unique weapon for such a noisy band. When J-Grue really wants to pin the aggression meter they have McArdle rant through a layer of distortion, as she does on “Psykick Espionage” – and suddenly the notion of JG’s split 7” with Perfect Pussy no longer seems so far-fetched.

The downside to this approach is that the music speaks for itself, leaving little need to pontificate. So just like Peanut Butter, this review will be surprisingly brief and will end abruptly.

Joanna Gruesome
Peanut Butter
[Slumberland/Fortuna Pop!]