Stream Alanna McCardle’s (Joanna Gruesome) solo demos

Niccolo Porcello

Joanna Gruesome singer Alanna McCardle has released a five track demo of songs she recorded over the span of two years in “various London bedrooms.” The EP of sorts, entitled Reticular (2012-2013), uses nearly twenty minutes spread over five songs to display a quieter version of a similar intensity that McCardle brings to Gruesome. In theory it could sound like a stripped-down demos, but in practice this is not the case. The off-kilter, out-of-tune guitar cadence lends a particular stark warmth to these songs and makes “Reticular” one of the more interesting acoustic releases in some time. Simple recordings can get bogged down by a (if even intoned) singer-songerwriter weight; but McCardle shares company with precious few others that manage to make immensely interesting tunes out of simple unaccompanied structure.

Included in these five songs is a cover of Perfume Genius’s “Take Me Home”; McCardle’s version taking the gorgeous lyricism of the song and spreading it out, slowing it down, and distorting it so that the dissolves out of speakers in a way that pleasantly differs from the original. The four-plus minute “Snow”‘s anthemic builds and sultry decrescendos showcase some of the most Gruesome-like feeling on the EP, with a lightly distorted guitar playing foil to her unchallengeable voice. There is no telling if these demos are a one off, and with a recently announced new Joanna Gruesome album coming soon there will mostly likely be little time to make more of these, but for our sake we should pray McCardle finds the time.

You can stream Reticular (2012-2013) below.

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