“I wanna be bold and unaffected,” sing Norwich-raised 19-year-olds Jenny Hollingworth and Rosa Walton on I’m All Ears, their second album as leftfield pop act Let’s Eat Grandma. Thankfully, the record is both: a daring, iridescent work, full of clashing sounds and razor-sharp lyrics.
Childhood friends who met at the start of primary school, Hollingworth and Walton have been making music together for years, and the record is strikingly mature. The tone is set with “Hot Pink”, a sparkling, dense song that challenges gender categories by finding the violence that had been lurking in this aggressively vibrant colour all along. Opening with sarcastic naivety (“I’m only 17/I don’t know what you mean,” they sing in baby voices), it gives way into something stranger and more hostile. “Hot pink/Is it mine?/Is it?” repeats over a rubbery bass, smashing glass and sirens, in a pop song that manages to be both abstract and catchy.
“It’s Not Just Me” justifies comparisons to Charli XCX and Chvrches with a snappy beat and bright production. “I Will Be Waiting” is like a distorted John Hughes movie, sometimes light as candy floss, sometimes moodier, ending with twinkly fairy godmother sound effects that feel laced with irony. Melodic guitars wind their way into “Snakes & Ladders” and “Cool & Collected”. Musical interludes – such as the elastic “Whitewater” and the ringtone-esque “Missed Call (1)”, an echoing, unanswered call in conversation with itself – are more experimental. “The Cat’s Pyjamas” plays with a cat’s purr, but also the gross sounds of its wet mouth.
Thrilling and unpredictable, this is a record that feels both kaleidoscopic and dangerous: like a journey through a beautiful, box jellyfish-infested coral reef. Take the plunge.
This article appears in the 11 Jul 2018 issue of the New Statesman, The Brexit farce