Welsh five-piece Joanna Gruesome marry noise and pop better than most on second album Peanut Butter. Alanna McArdle’s featherweight voice glides through exceptionally pretty melodies often sung in unison with guitarist Owen Williams. Taken on its own, it would be über-twee.
Instead, they also bring in a mighty rhythm section (nicely produced by Hookworms’ MJ), cloudbursts of surging background guitar whine and moments of ear-splitting hardcore scary in their incongruity. That all tends to disappear as quick as it appears, leaving us mostly with the aftertaste of cardigan pop: those pretty vocals, the often elegantly steepled guitar lines.
A sameness runs from track to track – brisk tempos, mid-range key, the loud/soft thing – but if you take time to work out the lyrics, you’ll be rewarded with intriguing surrealism, goofy fun (no surprise considering their band name) and, on incendiary pop-punk Psykick Espionage, a welcome dose of badassery.
Top track: Psykick Espionage