Release Date: Jun 29, 2018
Record label: Transgressive
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Toeing the line between fervent experimentation and enjoyable song craft...effortlessly. Let's Eat Grandma are a tough duo to pin down, both musically and personally. Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth have an odd sense of humor that a lot of people don't quite vibe with, such as the time that they confessed via interview that they are actually witches - a prank that stuck with certain publications and led to them being labeled as "freaky teenagers", replete with comparisons to characters out of The Ring and The Shining. They're not witches, of course, but that hasn't stopped them from working magic in the studio.
In Let's Eat Grandma's vision of utopia, some days you might look like an alien; others, you wake up invisible. In a recent interview, the British duo--Jenny Hollingworth and Rosa Walton, both 19 and friends since kindergarten--wrestled with the limits of gender as identity. Life would make more sense, they suggested, if physical appearances warped constantly to represent one's inner self.
Our teenage years are full of discovery. We are continually exploring the world and pertinently exploring ourselves. Biologically our bodies are staging a small rebellion in order to reach adulthood, without any conscious control. Furthermore, bonds are formed and broken both romantically and platonically; art and fashion tastes change; there is exposure to alcohol and late nights; and grander decisions with regards to one's path through life are tentatively made with university and career decisions.
I'm All Ears opens with 'Whitewater', a thunking great ice-bucket challenge of an instrumental that answers that age-old question: 'what if the soundtrack to Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive had been written by Godspeed You! Black Emperor?' Fans of sentences that whimsical and music that eclectic would have found themselves right at home with Let's Eat Grandma's debut record, I, Gemini. I'm All Ears by Let's Eat Grandma Released in 2016 by childhood friends Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth were 16 and 17 respectively, it's a record stuffed to breaking points with ideas - some diabolical, others beautiful. Knowingly naïve freak-folk interspersed with xylophone, ukulele and rapping.
Second album 'I'm All Ears' sounds light years ahead of their debut. Two years ago, the two teenagers who make up Let’s Eat Grandma – Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth – emerged with their debut, ‘I, Gemini’. The Norwich duo, friends since childhood, confidently described their debut in an interview with NME as "experimental sludge pop" before adding, "our creative process is very much 'go for it.'" The remainder of the interview sounded like the words of a band years into a career and not those of two seventeen-year-old college students who had just finished their GCSEs.
I'm All Ears arrived almost exactly two years after Let's Eat Grandma's debut, I, Gemini, but the leap the duo makes on its second album feels like it should've taken much longer. In some ways, it did: Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth wrote and recorded most of I, Gemini when they were in their early teens. Though neither of them had hit the big 2-0 by the time of I'm All Ears' release, the changes they went through between albums couldn't help but be reflected in their music.
Let's Eat Grandma have always been an interesting proposition, a pair of vivid thinkers dreaming up consistently weird worlds to live in. On debut 'I, Gemini', though, the pair were bogged down by their own weirdness, the songs given little room to breathe, instead embellished to breaking point. Two years was always going to be a long time for Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth, with both still not out of their teens, and the transformation seen on 'I'm All Ears' is a revelation.
The follow-up to 2016’s I, Gemini was always going to be closely watched. Their debut release saw Let’s Eat Grandma take their first steps into the world, establishing themselves as a brilliantly odd duo – their name, their stage presence, their songs. They were like an eerie fairytale brought to life. At the time Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth were just 17, creating a sound somewhere between CocoRosie and Dresden Dolls.
It's disingenuous to claim that Let's Eat Grandma's launch into the art pop stratosphere has been sudden, given they've been venerated by people In The Know since their formation in 2013 and more internationally with their debut 2016's I, Gemini on Transgressive Records, but it certainly feels like their 2018 has been dizzying. I, Gemini adhered to a lo-fi mutedness that signalled the songwriting chops of the duo, Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth, but I'm All Ears is an intoxicatingly radical progression that's, since the release of the advance singles such as SOPHIE-produced belter 'Hot Pink,' prompted a snowballing anticipation. Such hype they welcome.
Don’t let the name turn you off; Let’s Eat Grandma makes pretty soothing music, nothing especially morbid or violent like the name may suggest. Comprised of teenage duo Rosa Walton and Jessie Hollingworth, Let’s Eat Grandma proved their chops two years ago with their debut I, Gemini, a curious collection of genres and sounds harnessed together into an unorthodox but not unpleasant project. Their latest, I’m All Ears, exudes that same omnivorous taste, combining synths, rock guitars, and even a few playful strings and pianos into something fresh.
With the release of 2016's 'I, Gemini', Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth opened up several possible futures for themselves. That Let's Eat Grandma provoked the unusual tag of 'sludge pop' was largely indicative of the fact that no one could work them out: were they the new CocoRosie? Gang Gang Dance? Shakespeare's Sister? All three, somehow? Like a magic eye puzzle falling into place, 'I'm All Ears' has only slightly shifted the band's focus, but suddenly it all makes sense. 'Hot Pink' had signalled scuzzier intentions, but that track's crushing drop transpires to be only one of many tricks up the Norfolk duo's sleeves.