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Songs We Love: Joanna Gruesome, 'Last Year'

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Songs We Love: Joanna Gruesome, 'Last Year'

Songs We Love: Joanna Gruesome, 'Last Year'

Joanna Gruesome. Pat Graham/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Pat Graham/Courtesy of the artist

Joanna Gruesome.

Pat Graham/Courtesy of the artist

So much of punk is about ratcheting up tension, whether through cranked-up amps and explosive drumming or the release of pent-up anger. That's one side to Joanna Gruesome's fast and fuzzy music. But the Cardiff band with the punny name also knows how to offset that noise by deploying hooks just as a song reaches its breaking point. It's a winning formula on full display in "Last Year," the new single from Joanna Gruesome's forthcoming album Peanut Butter.

A song in two halves, "Last Year" opens with a flare of feedback and singer Alanna McArdle violently unleashing "I am not!" with her best hardcore shout, just barely audible against Owen Williams' thick, chugging guitars. But then the song releases ever so slightly, as McArdle's voice shifts into a dreamy pop melody that gracefully lifts her above the abrasive dissonance that surrounds her. That blend of sweetness and chaos is Joanna Gruesome's specialty.