3 July, 2014 in Music Reviews
Brighton’s Tyrannosaurus Dead & Cardiff’s Joanna Gruesome join forces on the excellent split single ‘Post Holiday Dead Song/Ant-Parent Cowboy Killers
arlier this year Brighton fuzz-pop outfit Tyrannosaurus Dead released the playfully titled Greatest Hits. Drawing together the band’s back catalogue of EPs and singles into one place, Hits was replete with sort of aching indie-rock that seemed lost to the genre’s early 90s zenith. Here they return with the brilliantly titled Post Holiday Dead Song and this time they’ve brought Seattle86 darlings Joanna Gruesome along for company.
Opening with a trademark riff that allies the yearning pop of Weezer’s Blue Album to the boundless energy of Husker Du, the five-piece have lost none of their pop appeal and indie charm. Retained too is their love for a hook, highlighted by the rattling chords thrown against each other during the crashing bridge, which comes across like a more frantic version of Unwound’s Dragnalus.
With the current affection for all things 90s, Post Holiday Dead Song tugs hard on that sentiment. It feels as though it’s the soundtrack not just to a youth that grips through the ages, but to one of the TV shows that formed the blurry background to your formative years. Tyrannosaurus Dead’s songs continue to get better and better, and with the band yet to release their debut album proper, Post Holiday Dead Song offers a tantalising taste of what that LP is sure to be: a record to set the band’s marker as one of the very finest indie-rock acts currently in operation.
Second up on the split single are Joanna Gruesome, who call T. Dead’s challenge of the acerbic and cool song title with Ant-Parent Cowboy Killers. Bursting out from your speakers with the swagger of a bratty punk who’s just spat in the face of a blazer-bedecked hipster, it’s a blush of unfettered ire.
As the guitars crash with the post-hardcore sensibility of Drive Like Jehu, cutting through the air with Bratmobile’s murderous focus, the drums pound like you wish Dave Grohl still would. As Alana McArdle’s vocals veer between whisper and roar, a throbbing Shop Assistants bassline gives a pop crush that ceases to let up.
It’s this pop appeal that sets Joanna Gruesome apart from their peers and has helped to make them the most vital guitar band since At The Drive-In. Though they might trick you into believing they’re scowling punks, they write the sort of hard-edged pop that might have been made if Kurt Cobain and Johnny Marr wrote ironic love songs together with Amelia Fletcher and Elizabeth Price, with the lyrics scrawled on broken windows. This brings a mournful sweetness to Ant-Parent Cowboy Killers though and gives it a level of connection that will see it buried into your affection.
Verdict: Two of today’s finest indie-rock acts strike gold