Who knew that venturing into a child’s nightmare would be so entertaining? Initially from the name Let’s Eat Grandma that suggests a cannibalistic splatter variation on Hansel and Gretel and carried on through to the curious fairytale lyrics to the sinister usage of new age folk instruments that would make the equally gothic Chelsea Wolfe proud.
Despite protagonists Jenny and Rosa being on the offence as well as defence, the distress signals (such as the “wicked witch in all her power cast a spell on me in this tower“) heard on debut I, Gemini suggest an appearance from Freddie Kruger and Count Olaf isn’t too far away.
The 15-years-old duo uses several techniques to paint a nightmarish atmosphere. Firstly through the personality of their vocals, from the playground lullabies (reminiscence of Nightmare on Elm Street or The Wicker Man), to fuzzy shouting, to slow mischievous murmurs and at the most extreme, out-of-the-blue screaming (“Sleep Song”).
There’s also a well-measured focus on slow building intros that add suspense and a false sense of comfort, examples being a beautiful piano being interrupted by the words “my cat is dead, my father hit me” on “Rapunzel”, new age highland recorder being unsettled by the lyrics about mutation and crashing cymbals on “Chocolate Sludge Cake”.
Thirdly, the use of xylophones and drone keyboards add a misleading child-like innocence and a nod to John Carpenter soundtracks on “Welcome To The Treehouse Part I”. Lyrically, Let’s Eat Grandma narrate the feeling of being naively curious and consequentially lost in both a haunting fantastical world and everyday reality, the latter being an unsurprising reflection on the YouTube generation and a possible explanation for the star sign in the title – gemini’s supposedly having two faces.
The interchange of conscious perspective within one song is so inconsistent that part of the fun is guessing which realm they exist inside. However the dangers of adolescent daydreaming are maturely discussed on the pop-culture referenced name “Sax In The City” in the policing line: “Get off your device and concentrate, the cars about to hit you“.
Although the self-described “sludge pop” has it’s creepy moments that’s intriguing stylish, there’s also plenty of purer and catchier folk heard on the harmonic “Chimpanzees In Canopies” and “Uke 6 TextBook” – a less cloudy banjo rendition of the lo-fi early-Grimes like beginner “Deep Six Textbook”.
The original painting the picture that Let’s Eat Grandma welcomingly record their music in the economical and contemporary method of a bedroom. There’s also evidence that the Norwich residents aren’t hiding away in their own concept and are aware of modern vibes, exemplified by the MØ–esque “Eat Shittake Mushrooms“, which also demonstrates a pulsating rhythm.
Expect to also hear proscious production nods to more adult targeted yesteryear genres of progressive rock and Neue Deutsche Welle that shows the wide knowledge of Let’s Eat Grandma and dismisses any stereotype of what they are supposed to sound like. Although for those sucked in by the spine chilling states to their music, this escape to the ordinary world may be slightly disappointing and unnecessary.
Let’s Eat Grandma may put off potential followers from their name alone. Furthermore the disjointed rhymes, the moments of Kate Nash-ish transparent English accent and impulsive childish comments may not appeal but credit has to be given to Jenny and Rosa for inventing their own alarming sound rather than falling trap to the teenage temptation of follow trends.
Let’s Eat Grandma’s I, Gemini is out now via Transgressive Records, purchase it on iTunes here.