I’m a newcomer to Joanna Gruesome. My friend and colleague introduced me to them. I’m pretty sure he said they’re the best band he hasn’t seen. High praise from a muso.
The band are from Cardiff – incidentally where I’ve been living for the last six months – so I was even more interested in them. I always find bands more intriguing if I can relate to them in some way.
Sadly, as soon as I started listening to their music, lead singer, Alanna McArdle, left the band due to mental illness. Of course I think Alanna’s health is by far the most important thing but it’s very disappointing from a fan’s perspective to see her go, especially as I’ve not seen them play live. I’m just glad I heard about them when I did.
The band plan to continue without Alanna but without her vocals – so important to the band’s sound – it just won’t be the same.
Let’s forget the bad news though. Even if Joanna Gruesome – as we knew them – are no more, they have recently released a 10-track album which is and will always be there to listen to no matter who’s around.
Separate Bedrooms encapsulates what the band are. The guitars, Alanna’s sweet voice and witty, tragic lyrics.
The contrast between her feminine sound and fatalist, sometimes angry lyrics is special.
Most of the songs on the album are barely two minutes long. It’s fast and furious in every way.
Like the record in general, Last Year, pulses from sweet-sounding melodies with regular guitar backing to brash, unwavering yells and explosive instrumentals. I can’t tell what Alanna is singing but it sounds so good I don’t really care.
The guitar intro to Honestly Do Yr Worst is definitely one of the sounds I’ll remember from Peanut Butter. But every time I listen through the album, I notice new things. You have to really pay attention to pick up the story lines in the songs – it’s an album more about feelings than storytelling.