Album Review: Let Me Do One More by Illuminati Hotties
Excellent, Based on 5 Critics
No Ripcord - 90 Based on rating 9/10
In 2020, Sarah Tudzin freed herself from the shackles of her record label deal with Tiny Engines—wanting to disassociate herself from an imprint riddled with controversy due to dubious handling of contract agreements. Though she never outright disclosed how these issues personally affected her project Illunimani Hotties, she did agree to a cash settlement before getting into a potentially risky situation. Tudzin reacted by releasing her mixtape Free I.H.
Illuminati hotties mastermind Sarah Tudzin is in control of pretty much every aspect of the band's aesthetic, from writing to production to creating her own genre, labelling it "tender punk. " After buying herself out of her contract with record label Tiny Engines, in solidarity with other artists who were mired in disputes over royalty payments, she quickly established her own imprint Snack Shack Tracks (in conjunction with Hopeless Records). And it's via her own label that illuminati hotties' second album proper, Let Me Do One More, is released.
Last year's FREE I.H mixtape was subtitled This Is Not the One You've Been Waiting For. The latest album from Illuminati Hotties, on the other hand, is the one you've been waiting for: a pristine stunner, as songwriter-producer Sarah Tudzin goes for broke on 12 songs of impeccably crafted pop hooks, hyperactive crescendos and graceful comedowns.
Let Me Do One More has been in the works for a few years, and was largely written before FREE I.H (and before the pandemic). The songwriting here is more streamlined than the frenzied, bitesized blasts of FREE I.H, although it's not necessarily more sedate.
Sarah Tudzin opens her fantastic second album by ribbing herself mercilessly for underperforming. "In every life there is a bell," the Illuminati Hotties wiz sings in "Pool Hopping," the opening track of Let Me Do One More. "One rounded curve of time or tell/I'm on the left half looking over." Soon enough, she hints at what's got her feeling so insecure: She's mid-breakup, just at the point where everything is up in the air.
At the time, Sarah Tudzin's "tenderpunk" outfit was embroiled in an acrimonious dispute with her previous label, Tiny Engines, leading to the quickly assembled mixtape. The results shined with biting fury, DIY charm, and loads of personality, but fans were also left waiting on Tudzin's sophomore record. Wait no longer, because Let Me Do One More is a pitch-perfect follow-up to both the plaintive indie punk of Tudzin's debut and to the freewheeling experimentalism of her mixtape.