9/10 Brian Staff review, 13 September 2013
"Heard it all before blah blah blah". I'd like to be all "whatevers" about this album but it's so damn lovable and exuberant that I'd feel like some schoolyard shithead that's just knocked the specs off some poor shy kid and stolen his Monster Munch. I'd feel bad if I accused them merely of aping early Pains of Being Pure at Heart and my beloved old Swirlies from Boston.
So yeah, I've heard American-style takes on this raucous shit-kicking shoegaze and post-MBV indie rock quite a few times during my residency at Norman Towers. Yet rarely do I get this much out of it. Dare I say that 'Weird Sister' is the best thing I've heard on Fortuna Pop since the last Comet Gain album? I actually much prefer it to POBPAH's début as it's more balls-y, raw and carefree. Y' know, less studied, more casual.
Here It's a case of a young Welsh band mining the well-dug-over past and finding a sound and style they genuinely believe in and just having a bit of a raucous party around it. The songs have a bit of a feral edge to them and the best pieces do indeed amp it up to moshpit levels of breathless excitement. Trails and shards of feedback are everywhere, the female vocals are alternately airy and angelic or occasionally Help She Can't Swim-style shouty which both work beautifully with the flailing maelstrom of hook-laden pop-noise.
So, they may look twee with their silly punny name and cartoon sleeves but they're not. Joanna Gruesome are anything but. They're lovely, cheeky, lively and want to get in your bed with you. Proper fun times.
9/10 coffin dodger Customer review, 3rd December 2013
Straight away, first song in, one thing above all others is clear: these(to old-git me)kids, these five go mad in Cardiff, can play. Oh yes - ass has certainly been worked off here. If one is going to run to the extravagance of two guitars, bass, drums and a singer, one's sound should reflect these relative riches - this is no time to be paring back! Joanna Gruesome tick all those bigger band boxes: rich fuzzied-up, feedback-twinged rhythm with 'picked' note lead riffs all intertwined in eminent humability, tick; polished hard-hit drum frills rounding out and off a rolling bass line, tick; overall expansive sound that can suddenly go stadium-loud mental, tick; solo singer that can turn from a scuzzy, sweet-sung girly chorus to a schizoid-screamed siren verse, or vice versa, at the drop of single tom rim shot, tick. Overall the Gruesomes cruise along with all the drive, confidence and class of The(magnificent)Breeders-check side one's closer, "Lemonade Grrrl" - coulda been straight off 'last splash' Who cares if it's 2013? For me there's always room for indie of this quality - especially more-so when it's home-grown. The lad from Hookworm, MJ,has done the recording/mixing/production honours, and a right good job he's made of it as well. The vinyl sounds live and sharp and, well... happy. "secret surprise", that kicks-off side two, will keep me smiling and playing air-everything through the rest of the year, but there's another six ace tracks as well and three that are just good. I notice that they're playing Leeds (underneath the arches) this Friday - how I wish I was going, I bet they're mint live!
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- Weird Sister by Joanna Gruesome
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