Due to a few years of hype and airplay, second albums are generally the ones where a band branches out a bit – cracking out the obscure, lofty references or hiring a children’s choir before going bankrupt. Not Joanna Gruesome. Sticking to their uncannily unique blend of furious alt-punk thrashes and melodic indie pop, their second record is very much business as usual.
A streamlined follow on from their wonderful debut Weird Sister, their second LP, clocking in at an admittedly meagre twenty minutes, allows basically no room for error or improvement; a second roll of the dice for a band who tie together the disparate threads of indie music with incredible aloofness and zeal.
Last Year opens the record with the band’s strongest track to date, a hugely exciting song that distils perfectly the ferocious vocals, crashing guitars and melodic choruses that have earned them such acclaim. Likewise, second track Jamie (Luvver) presents melodic hook after melodic hook, another bewilderingly good song within the first five minutes. A comparatively lacklustre Crayon slightly misses its mark with its stop-start verses, but any very slight reservations
are quickly and brutally smashed under the crunching noise that opens I Don’t Wanna Relax. Awesome stuff, and while the band don’t cover any particularly new territory for themselves here, the main question to be asked is who the fuck cares?