Let’s Eat Grandma: review of Two Ribbons – an unforgettable study of friendship | Music

Jhere is an instructive comparison to make between the title of Let’s Eat Grandma’s third album and that of their debut. Released in 2016, the latter was called Moi, Gémeaux, which seemed to fit perfectly. The two 16-year-old classmates who made it liked to portray themselves as twins, or even aspects of the same person. They wore matching outfits and makeup. On stage, they sometimes performed with their long hair obscuring their faces so you couldn’t tell them apart. Filled with songs ostensibly about mushrooms, fairy tales and various childhood terrors, I, Gemini really felt like an album about the particularly intense friendships that develop between teenagers. With its unorthodox song structures, sudden diversions to rap, and abundance of instruments played in a way that suggested the duo enjoyed exploration rather than virtuosity, it felt like an upgraded version of something two talented and imaginative children could record together for long hours in a bedroom. With his inscrutable jokes expressed through lyrical non-sequences, listening to him sometimes felt like listening to a secret society for two. Their debut single Deep Six Textbook opened with the sound of Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth playing an intricate clapping game.

Let’s eat grandma: cover of two ribbons

Six years later, Two Ribbons is a title that suggests two distinct entities that may or may not be intertwined. And it’s a noticeably different album made under noticeably different circumstances. After trying to harness the weirdness of their debut to a more direct electronic approach on 2018’s Ivor Novello-nominated I’m All Ears, its successor is total pop: chunky neon-hued synthesizers sit somewhere between the jubilant successes of the 80s and hand in hand. live dance floor failures; acoustic ballads that swell to grand heights. The only real sonic connection to their debut is the naïve, untutored vocals of Hollingworth and Walton, although the fact that it’s striking to hear a pop song sung by someone who looks like a human being says something about that. be less on Let’s Eat Grandma than on the stream. pop state.

Let’s Eat Grandma: Levitation – vidéo

In 2019, on the eve of a US tour to promote I’m All Ears, Hollingworth’s boyfriend died of bone cancer at the age of 22. His death obviously impacts Two Ribbons. There’s an instrumental called In the Cemetery; behind Watching You Go’s Giorgio Moroder-ish bass and spiraling ascending chorus is a song about the puzzling manifestations of grief, of insisting that life must go on as before (“I don’t stay in it, I don’t waste it, I’m not”) to the longing for oblivion: “I want to get rid of myself and lay in the dirt sometimes”, sings Hollingworth. But it ultimately feels less like an album on death than navigating the changing nature of friendship with age: the diminishing of that intense bond in early adolescence captured on Me, Gemini, as the rest of life gets in the way: “We change,” as Hollingworth sings on the title track, “like two ribbons, still woven, though we unravel.”

It doesn’t automatically follow that two people in their twenties discussing the changing nature of their friendship should equal a compelling listen, but in this case, it is. That’s partly because the lyrics are really well-written: on Levitation, Walton seems to describe the duo’s bond as “something that shines inside the drain”; “We both held each other so tight we got bruises,” Hollingworth later suggests. But it’s also because — unlike a lot of left-leaning actors who try to detour into pop — Let’s Eat Grandma has the tunes to back it up. Even when describing their sound as “experimental sludge-pop” and singing songs called Eat Shiitake Mushrooms, the duo had a strong melodic ease, clearly audible amid honking saxophones and frantically strumming mandolins. It’s cleaner than ever here. The album features an assortment of top 40 choruses and beautiful melodies, which makes the words more impactful.

The album is ordered in a way that sometimes feels like a conversation – a piece of Walton speaking to Hollingworth, and then vice versa. And there’s something really powerful about hearing songs that tend towards self-examination and a tone of hopeful resignation, but sound so jubilant overall – a variation of the old disco trick of put dejected lyrics on euphoric music. At one point, Happy New Year literally explodes into fireworks, contradicting what is being sung: “I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want the old to come back to us.

From these conflicts was born a succession of immediate, powerful and catchy songs. You listen to Two Ribbons wanting the pair to fix things, like you’re watching a particularly magnetic drama. “You know you’ll always be my best friend,” Walton sings at one point, “and look what I’ve done with you.” At that point, she sounds like someone beaming with pride, and rightly so: Two Ribbons is a fabulous album.

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