Thursday, 6 October 2011
EP Review: Joanna Gruesome – e.p.
Self-released. Available from Bandcamp.
Unlike most Joanna Gruesome aren't afraid to describe themselves as 'twee'. At lest they're OK with it on their Facebook page. Which is good enough for me, and as the chorus to opening song 'Sugarcrush' prominently mentions a cardigan (at least it sounds like it does - everything is pretty fuzzy and indistinct), a good place to start when describing the sound of the Cardiff five-piece.
But don't be put off, because as with anything half decent there's much more to it than you'd gather from a stereotype of a 'genre'. Helpfully there is much of late 80s/early 90s indiepop about the band but to this base is added the energy of garage bands, a contemporary lo-fi grubbyness and the throwaway bubblegum hooks, that when done right (as they are here) that allow bands to wriggle into our less-than-cynical hearts. If proper indiepop is what you're after then Joanna Gruesome are the band to find it in.
As a side note, it's an excellent band name too. Both punny and distinctive, it sets them against the wishy-washy-ness of much of the press-favoured alt. scene and hints at both humour and independence. Excellent, so about the music then...
The aforementioned 'Sugarcrush' is a mesh of boy-girl vocals and guitars that sound like the (great) title. 'Madison' is noisily tuneful with spades of distortion that's perfect for shaking yr hair to when you're dancing around yr room whilst 'Pantry Girl' is their most tuneful number with a side of melancholy and the sprinkling of 'Be My Baby' drums that no self-respecting band can be without in their early days. For reference points in relation to other groups: 'Lemonade Grrl' is like having Bordeauxxx in one ear and Ramones in the other, whilst 'Yr Dick' could be a feral Los Campesinos! playing with My Bloody Valentine. Excellent news all round then.
This early in the game Joanna Gruesome aren't going to be setting the world on fire. However, tn the strength of this EP I can tell you that they are bloody good and deserve the chance to create something truly fantastic. Be the audience that they can share this with.
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