A horrible hack

Big Joan

Insects And Engines

Year Released: 2004
Format: CD
Label: Blood Red Sounds
Reviewed by Alex Deller on Jun 13, 2007
Whoever chose to name this band really hasn’t done too good a job, because the result is a true grade-a stinker. Thankfully Big Joan are better than their moniker would suggest, bashing out a nice line in discordant post-punk that leads one to suspect they may well own a stack of Uzeda and 90 Day Men records between them. The songs tumble about like hyperactive children clattering across corrugated iron on pogo sticks, with full homage being paid to the Albini school of guitar mangle, a meticulously well-timed chaos of staccato clangs and screeches of molten noise topped by Annette Berlin’s distinctive, terse vocals and well-rounded enunciations. ‘Lenina’ is probably my pick of the bunch here, though it’s given a run for its money by ‘Ablenkung’ with its stuttering drum patterns and vocals that remind me of Polly Jean circa “Rid Of Me”. The thing occasionally falters due to the odd bad idea or tiresome vocal pirouette, but generally the album sits well between the ears and leads me to wondering when I’ll be seeing Big Joan treading the boards at some Southern-affiliated bash down at 93 Feet East, because on this evidence they’re pretty much ripe for it…

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