Let's Eat Grandma: I'm All Ears review – bold, intense pop that gets under the skin


Let’s Eat Grandma (LEG) are barely recognisable as the duo behind their 2016 debut I, Gemini in 2016. That eerie record mingled drifting synths with recorder solos, saxophone and maddening chatter, and exuded playful insularity that provoked strong reactions. Perhaps seizing such potential to get under listeners’ skin, 19-year-olds Jenny Hollingworth and Rosa Walton take a more confrontational approach on album two: bold synths sharpened with a diamond lathe; sights trained on anyone who would underestimate teenage girls. The pair are determined to experience life at its most intense.

These qualities combine dazzlingly on Hot Pink, produced by Sophie and the Horrors’ Faris Badwan. Despite containing many of Sophie’s trademarks – harsh synths evoking plastic and rust, bass that sounds like a deflating blimp – it brings a welcome human waywardness to her antiseptic sound. Still deliciously bratty of voice, LEG writhe from pouty indignation to rapturous fantasy as they reclaim pink and power in the most visceral four minutes of pop this year.

I’m All Ears (otherwise produced by David Wrench) translates LEG’s weirdness into proper pop: amid interludes of purring cats and trilling ringtones, their songs are mini odysseys that intertwine rave-y euphoria and menace. With its battering chorus, Falling Into Me is as galvanising as its determined lyrics. They do softness, too: It’s Not Just Me, the other Sophie and Badwan track, is dreamy and unsettling, while the rainfall on Ava makes the piano ballad even more wrenching.

LEG’s lyrics, far from their debut’s fairytale nonsense, have become uncanny and piercing, which is enhanced by their muscular vocal melodrama. There’s a brilliant line on Snakes and Ladders that confronts gender’s power imbalance and the false salve of consumerism: “How do you feel so respected, majestic? ’Cause I’m objecting to things I go off and buy into, selecting the pails I’ll be pouring your tears into.” Cool and Collected perfectly distills the desperation of social awkwardness: “I still blur in the haze that you cut straight through.” While missed connections litter the album – missed calls, disembodied names on screens – I’m All Ears is about abandoning fear and leaping boldly towards desire. It is remarkable.


Laura Snapes

The GuardianTramp

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