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Joanna Gruesome / Perfect Pussy — Astonishing Adventures! 7″

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Scuzzy noise rockers PERFECT PUSSY teamed up with past tour-mates JOANNA GRUESOME to release a 7” split, Astonishing Adventures! from DC’s Slumberland Records. The 7” consists of one new song from each band, plus a cover on each side.

The record starts with pop-rock group Joanna Gruesome’s new song “Psykick Espionage.” The track has a fast and yelpy verse, teetering more on the side of punk. By the time the chorus runs around, vocalists Alanna McArdle and Owen Williams harmonize for a catchy hook that brings the chaos back to order. This is followed by their cover of “ . . . And Keep Reaching For Those Stars,” originally an I Hate Myself track. The band managed to chisel the three-minute song down to just over a minute, speeding it up considerably. Joanna Gruesome makes the song completely their own with twee vocals, fast drums, and ringing feedback.

Perfect Pussy’s side amps up the energy with drowning vocals and scuzz galore. “Adult World (The Secret)” is surprisingly structured, unlike much of their earlier work. Buried beneath thick layers of distortion is a distinguished song pattern and chord progression. Such structural aspects are typically lost in their previous work; perhaps this signifies a new focus on composition, while still keeping their chaotic charm. The song is paired with an excellent cover of The Sugarcubes‘ “A Leash Called Love.” While Björk undoubtedly slayed this song, Meredith Graves brings out a sweeter side to her vocals, which pierce through the screeching guitars and relentless feedback. The track fades out with manipulated vocal samples, warping feedback, and a simple synth beat keeping the song tied together.

The Astonishing Adventures! split augers a hopeful future for both bands, proving that they are continuing to move in a bold direction to refine their personal sounds. “Psykick Espionage” hints that Joanna Gruesome may be heading in a faster direction, but they still manage to mix in their airy vocals throughout the track. Perfect Pussy, as mentioned before, seems to be moving toward a more balanced sound that’s less covered up with distortion. They still have their blown-out sound dirtying up the track, but each element is far more distinguishable than in their past releases. Each bands’ cover songs only seal the deal on this already excellent split.

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