Posted on September 7th, 2013 (8:55 am) by Laura Gesualdi

Put simply, do-it-yourself perfection. Cardiff, Wales-based Joanna Gruesome have put together something noisy, dangerous, and delightful with their debut album, Weird Sister. The album, out via Fortuna POP! and Slumberland Records on September 10, 2013, is track after track of infectious pop melodies sugar coated with danceable punk rock beats.

Though this is the quirky five-piece’s first time recording in a proper studio, it’s still a little riot grrrl; it’s still a lot of noise, and it still sounds like it could have been recorded in your basement if you had an awesome rock and roll basement that came fully equipped with candy, beer, and a brilliant producer. You can tell immediately that Joanna Gruesome have stumbled across something wonderful. And it almost sounds as if they did it by accident while rocking out and yelling in each other’s faces.

It’s a rarity to see a chick pull of sugary pop sweetness and punk rockability like front woman Alanna McArdle does for Joanna Gruesome, but the woman has somehow managed to do both simultaneously. Weird Sister explodes from the first second, hooking listeners in with “Anti Parent Cowboy Killers.” Though the band claims this tune is about “stealing a scooter and driving it into the ocean when you should be in school learning,” it’s hard to be sure exactly what McArdle is yelling at you about sometimes. But the confusion just adds to the overall greatness. Plus, it’s almost impossible to not dance around like a blissful fool to this song, even if you have no idea what you’re blissful about.

“Sugarcrush” has more of a pop feel to it. Wavering on bubbly and cute while still at times being angry and angsty is something Joanna Gruesome have perfected with this album. The first half of Weird Sister is extremely catchy and extremely weird, a wonderful combination. “Wussy Void” is nothing short of built up pop brilliance.

We see a softer side of the band about halfway through with “Lemonade Grrl.” It’s still noisy, it’s still in your face, but it’s a bit more melodic, showing off the longitude of McArdle’s tremendously high-pitched voice.

With lyrics like “you love me so much that you can’t breath” from “Secret Surprise” and songs like “Do You Really Wanna Know Why Yr Still In Love With Me,” we really get to feel that angst. But even at their most emotional, Joanna Gruesome never stop with the loud riffs and the punk rock drumming that makes them delectably dancey and perfect for rocking out.

The album picks up again with “Graveyard,” a high-energy anthem with more of a punk feel. Ironically, Joanna Gruesome chose to end the album on a softer note with “Satan,” a slow jam with a bit of a grungy feel, with the occasional loud guitar and screaming vocals. Overall, is a killer debut. Literally, I think some of the songs might be about killing zombies.

Dare I say it would make the ladies of Le Tigre proud? I think I do dare. Despite the fact that McArdle is the only woman in the band, Joanna Gruesome have blended the riot grrrl feel with catchy punk rock. Not an easy feat. This band is something special, something quirky, something I really want to see play a show in my basement.

Track List:
1. Anti Parent Cowboy Killers
2. Sugarcrush
3. Wussy Void
4. Madison
5. Lemonade Grrl
6. Secret Surprise
7. Do You Really Wanna Know Why Yr Still In Love With Me
8. Candy
9. Graveyard
10. Satan

Joanna Gruesome: Weird Sister
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

69 / 100
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