Thursday, 24 September 2015

Joanna Gruesome

Summerhall, Edinburgh
Four stars


It's an unintentional piece of synchronicity that Cardiff-sired nouveau-riot grrrl
indie-pop noiseniks Joanna Gruesome have broken cover to release their second
album, Peanut Butter, the sparky follow-up to their 2013 debut, Weird Sister,
just as the other-worldly voice of the chanteuse who inspired their name, Joanna
Newsome, has similarly reappeared on the scene.

With former front-woman Alanna McArdle departing following the recording of Peanut Butter, twin vocalists Kate Stonestreet of Glasgow fem/queer punks Pennycress and Roxy Brennan of Two White
Cranes have stepped into the breach in a way that makes them sound more wilfully
disparate than ever.

The Edinburgh date of JoGrue's inaugural tour in their new six-piece line-up forms part of Summerhall's ongoing Nothing Ever Happens Here
series of shows, and opens with the headliners Fortuna Pop! label-mates and
fellow travellers, The Spook School. Like their forbears, the Edinburgh-based
quartet are a mixed gender combo who wrap up two-minute yarns concerning
twenty-first century sexuality with fifty-seven varieties of androgynous buzzsaw
punk-pop that isn't afraid to get in touch with its feminine side.

Joanna Gruesome are even more contrary, their three guitar frontline bridging the gap
between C86 gonzo thrash and more FX-driven cosmic adventures as Stonestreet's
shouty confrontationalism counterpoints Brennan's sweeter choir-girl warbles.
The effect of all this in a live arena is a gloriously low-attention-span sugar
rush of absorbed ideas which have been cut up, bent out of shape and freshened
up for a new wave of DIY dilettantism. Beyond the fun and frenzy, the music
takes itself seriously even as it makes for a beautiful explosion of pop and
politics designed to have you grinning your way to oblivion.

The Herald, September 25th 2015




ends

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