Text: Jaap van Hamond
The third album from young British synthpop duo Let’s Eat Grandma exhibits the bond between the two best friends in all its paradoxical glory. Despite the fact that on Two Ribbons the faltering of their friendship is central, the result is extremely cohesive and their affection for each other now seems stronger than ever.
While touring their previous album I’m All Ears, Jenny Hollingworth and Rosa Walton, inseparable since infancy, noticed a rift had opened between them. Amid a period of mourning, isolation, and individual changes, the two did not understand each other as easily as before. They started writing music separately for the first time, but always remained in each other’s thoughts. It was under these difficult circumstances that the solid foundations for Two Ribbons were laid.
The album roughly consists of two different halves, one with true synthpop bops and one with more introspective ballads. Opener ‘Happy New Year’ is literally explosive, complete with fireworks in the bridge, and the following tracks also sparkle with echoing synths, thick drum-computer beats and strong vocals, complemented by emotionally-charged lyrics: “How I shake, how I shatter, as you’re tearing at the touch like butterflies”, sings Hollingworth on ‘Watching You Go’. Starting with ‘Insect Loop’, the atmosphere of the album changes to a more melancholic sound. Guitar takes centre stage in that song, with room for a beautiful melody and even a folk-like plucked pattern. The lyrics take on a confrontational directness in this new instrumental context: “Why do we both have to sit and absorb this ordinary pain? And how did it get to the point where it’s not an ordinary pain?” wonders Let’s Eat Grandma. The later ‘Sunday’ has ethereal qualities that are somehow reminiscent of Grimes’ best, but it is more tender in sound and more poignant in emotion: “I feel my heart beat all the wrong ways, and say I miss you even though you’re right here”. In a way, Coldplay’s strongest work also comes to mind, with the piercing guitar melody in ‘Insect Loop’ and the cinematic build-up in ‘Strange Conversations’. The closer and title track sings of Hollingworth and Watson’s special bond one last time at the heart of Two Ribbons, a colourful album that shines with inescapable heartbreak, profound devotion and stinging vulnerability. Let’s Eat Grandma illuminates all these sensitive subjects with clear, brave honesty.
Let’s Eat Grandma is on tour covering the UK and then moving on to North America. Europe is sure to be on the scene soon too.
Label: Transgressive Records