Joanna Gruesome, “Peanut Butter”
Neither as crass as their name, or as sweet as their album title suggests, this second full-length from Welsh five-piece Joanna Gruesome is ten songs of beautiful, yet scrappy sentimentality. A bit like a less-twee, more0fucked-up version of Belle and Sebastian, Peanut Butter veers from the cute and jangly (“There Is No Function Stacy,” “I Don’t Wanna Relax”) to the sadly forlorn (“Separate Bedrooms,” “Hey! I Wanna Be Yr Best Friend”), and even to noise-laden energetic blasts of indie-punk (“Last Year,” “Psykick Espionage”). All of it, though, is imbued with a slightly generic, lo-fi edge. Time will tell if these songs have true staying power or are flash-in-the-pan bursts of messy post-adolescence angst and dreaming just to be washed up and forgotten years down the line. Either way, right now, they make for an emotive and enjoyable musical journey that’s propelled by both style and substance. Spread it on thick!