Welsh noise pop outfit Joanna Gruesome return with second effort 'Peanut Butter', a near 20-minute attack of punk riffs, mad lyrics and '60s jangled guitar.
From the cover art alone it's clear that the five-piece have a great sense of humour and take pleasure in subverting the idea of what a band of a certain genre should look and sound like. Their sound, after all, is one of extremes; taking the loud/quiet dynamic popularised by the likes of Pixies and Nirvana to the max. One minute it's face-melting and messy guitars, the next ear pleasing vocals from Alanna McArdle - it's an infectious mix, but one that comes to seem formulaic and repetitive over time.
Things get off to a head start with opener 'Last Year'; a track brimming with great energy that can't help but force heads to bob. All cylinders are firing, and the whole thing drips with youthful energy. 'Honestly Do Yr Worst' carries on similarly, delivering well-orchestrated chaos with aplomb as guitars, drums and vocals all fight it out for supremacy.
Producer MJ (of Hookworms fame) and the band intended to strip things back and become more economical with their sound. While they certainly have achieved this, in this instance it has arguably starved the songs and disallowed them the space to breathe.
Single 'Psykick Espionage' is a fun, spiky number and without doubt the album's highlight - it's just a shame that the rest of the LP sounds so similar. Closer 'Hey! I Wanna Be Your Best Friend' is where more promise is found; erupting into a fantastic dual guitar lick in its dying moments and, strangely, sharing some DNA with The Velvet Underground. This is a side of the band we'd love to see more of, but for now - catch this infectious bunch live.
Words: Sam Walker-Smart
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