Joanna Gruesome - Weird Sister - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Joanna Gruesome - Weird Sister

by Andy Brown Rating:7 Release Date:2013-09-16

In many ways, Cardiff's Joanna Gruesome wear their influences on their sleeves, from the comic book artwork gracing the front of Weird Sister to the mixture of indiepop, riot grrl and punk spirit in their music. Alanna McArdle's vocals are often sweet yet the unexpectedly abrasive guitars which leap out from nowhere reveal a band in love with noise, energy and youthful discordance. Joanna Gruesome are sweet but far from sickly.

The album opens with the C86-style rush of 'Anti-Parent Cowboy Killers', immediately revelling in the band's love of sweet harmonies, melody and Huggy Bear-indebted outbursts of noise. 'Sugarcrush' veers between sounding like Dirty-era Sonic Youth and some glorious 80s/90s indie-pop lost classic.

The scuzzy-pop of 'Wussy Void' and 'Do You Really Wanna Know Why Yr Still in Love with Me?' find the band's common ground with acts such as Veronica Falls. Yet tracks like 'Madison' and 'Graveyard' go straight for the jugular. The album constantly rocks back-and-forth between sweetly melancholic and unreservedly pissed off. Often this happens in the space of one song. It's a pretty exciting ride.

Weird Sister finishes with The Velvet Underground-influenced 'Satan', a kind of fucked, psychedelic ballad which seems to end all too soon. The album is just under 35 minutes, so you'll probably find yourself sitting through the whole thing a few times in a row (when I say sitting, hopefully you'll be leaping around your room).

Fortuna Pop! certainly has a knack for signing bands who really re-connect with the roots of 'indie music' (whatever that really means). Joanna Gruesome sit comfortably besides bands like Evans the Death, Allo Darlin' and the now sadly disbanded Shrag on the label's roster. These bands certainly sound pretty different from each other but definitely share some common ground besides a record label. They all know the value of a good indie-pop tune, delivered with energy and originality.

This album sounds great and its lo-fi, honest tones can be attributed to the production skills of MJ from Hookworms (Matt seems to get everywhere these days). Weird Sister is yet another fine release from Fortuna Pop! and a fairly faultless opening statement from Joanna Gruesome. Fuck the new Kings of Leon album; this is where the fun's at.

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