Saturday, 17 August 2013

Joanna Gruesome - Weird Sister (Fortuna POP!)

From the very first moment the scattergun pop of 'Anti-Parent Cowboy Killers' creeps under your skin and grabs you forever, to the last few drops of sprawling lament 'Satan' drains you dry, 'Weird Sister' rules the entire world.

Quite what greatness Joanna Gruesome have created here, I'm not sure they know. It's a mess of noise, dreamy pop, violence, and a whole heap of creativity in just 28 minutes that most bands would be hard pressed to match across a dozen albums.

There are songs here that fans of the band will be familiar with ('Sugarcrush', 'Madison', 'Lemonade Grrrl'), but they've been given a new lease of life after being re-recorded.

'Madison' was a bruising piece of perfect pop before, now it's a monster - all MBV-ish guitars and sneering dual vocals. It's the sort of song that makes you want to stick your coat on, head outside, and sort out what's wrong with the world. If 'Taxi Driver' ever gets remade, with, say, Danny Dyer in the lead role, then 'Madison' would be its theme tune.

Lemonade Grrl heads into the territory where shoegaze meets The Wedding Present, and, again, it's almost like a new song after having more than 50p spent on its recording. It's relentless strumming and pace holds you like nothing else.

But it's probably 'Secret Surprise' that is the most perfect of the ten perfect songs on 'Weird Sister'. By Joanna Gruesome standards, it's almost an epic. It's about four songs in one, with vocalist Alanna McArdle playing two characters in the same play. It's an absolute riot.

The theme continues with 'Do You Really Wanna Know Why Yr Still in Love With Me', which, on the face of it, is a pretty straightforward pop song, with perfect vocals by McArdle, but with a tumult of noise and feedback that gives your goosebumps.

'Candy', meanwhile, is the kindest of homages to Galaxie 500. Those who keep up with these things might have heard or seen Joanna Gruesome's stunning live version of 'Tugboat'. 'Candy' merely emphasises their love of the long-departed heroes.

Just when we think they're going soft, and before this album disappears, here comes 'Graveyard', a vital blast of vitriol that sounds like a little like early Pixies are their most raw. It songs like this that make me want to forget that I'm nearly 40 and can't dance, and go our and pretend to be young again. But I'm a bit tired, so I'll just listen to this album again and have an early night.

Let's get this straight; you don't just want to listen to this album - you need to. It's as simple as that. It's one of those albums that, when you get old, you'll be able to go back to time and time again. It's the sort of record you'll want to play to everyone who comes around to your house. It's the LP that'll be on your turntable now, tomorrow, next week, and in 25 years' time. You know what to do.

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