Joanna Gruesome :: Peanut Butter

You may be forgiven for assuming that the five Welsh musicians who call themselves Joanna Gruesome play a generalized, Rat-Finkish version of anti-indie-snobbery punk rock. A Garbage Pail kid come to life clutching a copy of Vice, maybe. Whether it’s their intention or not, that name instantly and inevitably turns them into a caricature; whether that’s fair or not hardly plays into it. That they play an inspired version of cheery, hardcore-inflected pop rock under that banner is so surprising that it almost seems transgressive.

And yet, with Peanut Butter, which follows up 2013’s excellent Weird Sister, it’s hard to think of a name that would better describe what they do. Like Weird Sister, Peanut Butter follows the separate lodestars of Vaselines-style scot-pop and chunky eighties hardcore. But where the former record tried to pilot toward some middle ground between the two, Peanut Butter finds Joanna Gruesome happily blasting sound from both destinations. While they actively eschew the intricate arrangements and obscure instrumentation of their semi-namesake harpist, they do share a complicated sense of melody, and, as with Joanna Newsome, it can be hard to find the point at which their sweetness begins to curdle until it’s too late.

Only the good shit. Aquarium Drunkard is powered by its patrons. Keep the servers humming and help us continue doing it by pledging your support.

To continue reading, become a member or log in.