Review: Joanna Gruesome – Pretty Fucking Sick (Of It All)

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Vinyl. Fortuna POP!

One of the many annoying changes to the music scene in recent years has been the all encompassing clamour to explore digital avenues at all costs. One of the odd thrills when reviewing music were the padded envelopes and parcels packed with information, trinkets and enticingly anonymous discs, promising, quite possibly, to contain the best thing you’ve ever heard. I hasten to add, the excitement was quashed almost as soon as you saw the same glib ‘whiskey-soaked’/’tasty slab of…’ made-up quotes (imagine if they were real? Oh…) on the press release but there was still a tangible feeling of expectancy and the ability to determine from the assembled package how best to communicate to the people who would most benefit from hearing about it.

The most common method now is to receive an email from a third party PR company (gone the days of borrowing a Polaroid of the band from the label manager to illustrate an article) which are an utterly sterile base on which to gee up the recipient. Generally, you are faced with a war zone of typefaces; gibberish YouTube and streaming links, as tempting as the adverts and banners you’ll weave through to get to the actual music.

Rest assured, this new single is annoying in any generation’s lingo.

There are five people in Joanna Gruesome, two of whom having being required to fill the vacant vocalist slot, although I can only detect what sounds like one lady singing inside a water boiler. The previous incumbent left as “I felt objectified, unsupported, used and unappreciated” – that isn’t the name of the other members, by the way (I’m here all week!) They’re very motivated by gender, equality and sticking it to The Man (or more correctly, The Gender Neutral Authority Figure), though I only know this through clicking a link that told me so – I can’t discern a word that’s being sung, which, perhaps, is a blessing.

Despite the potty-mouthed title, it’s an oddly cheery poppy hum-along, perfect for angry and disaffected youths who have to protest for protest’s sake, but not for too long as they’ve got to be at work at Starbucks by 2. It brings to mind that great old sage’s album title – Val Doonican Rocks…but Gently. 300 of these have been pressed on blue vinyl, which is plenty, I’d say. If you like decorating your pencil case, you might like this, the timid end of meek and the rallying cough that it exists as, not so much Shoegaze as plimsoll-affectionate. Or, save the frustration of 404 messages and broken links and shout at the wall. Or have a good cry. Better still, pop the kettle on and click onto Radio Three – it’s surprising what’s on sometimes.

DAZ LAWRENCE

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