Let's Eat Grandma: Two Ribbons (Transgressive) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Let’s Eat Grandma

Two Ribbons


Apr 27, 2022 Issue #69 - 20th Anniversary Issue Bookmark and Share

2018’s I’m All Ears was a giant leap forward for Let’s Eat Grandma, the indie pop outfit from childhood friends Jenny Hollingworth and Rosa Walton. Their sound expanded into an avant-garde genre-blend, brought in new directions by newly ambitious songwriting. But if that album saw the young songwriters truly stretching their creative talents, their latest effort, Two Ribbons, finds the duo settled and mature, though with their gifts for pop melody remaining fully intact.

Part of growing up is finding your own way—separating from childhood friends and discovering who you are apart from others. In the three years since I’m All Ears, Hollingworth and Walton have been exploring these boundaries creatively and personally. On previous records, the two operated in near-complete accord, so much so it was difficult to even tell the pair apart on record. On Two Ribbons, they diverge for the first time, exploring unique paths with distinct thematic focuses. Hollingworth wrestles with the loss of her partner, the late musician Billy Clayton. Meanwhile, Walton had moved to London and found herself in the midst of a host of new experiences, from finding her first love, to exploring her sexuality.

Two Ribbons is the sound of the pair reuniting, and it offers excitement from its opening moments. Ebullient synth melodies and pulsating rhythms open “Happy New Year,” steadily building into a triumphant fireworks show. Similarly, “Levitation,” “Watching You Go,” and “Hall of Mirrors” are all danceable synth pop odysseys, among the best the band have ever delivered.

But Two Ribbons also feels like two albums in one, with the first half a sampling of potent synth pop and the second turning towards sprawling balladry. The expansive second half is more organic and reflective, tinged with acoustic guitars, trumpets, and starry-eyed beauty. The gentle sheen of “Sunday” sees Walton reflecting on a difficult break-up, while the soaring balladry of “Strange Conversations” reframes romantic longing into almost religious devotion. Finally, the record’s emotive apex comes with “Two Ribbons,” Hollingsworth’s aching love letter to Walton, with her wishing for the simplicity of the pair’s days gone by.

The bond between Hollingworth and Walton has always been at the core of Let’s Eat Grandma. Two Ribbons represents reunification and renewal for that bond. Inexorably changed by the past three years, the pair’s reunion plays like meeting up with an old friend—an initial burst of pure joy, reminiscence, and nostalgia. Then you begin to realize how you both have changed, the different paths you’ve taken, and the new scars you both sport. But what Let’s Eat Grandma have is something rare and vital, and Two Ribbons is a powerful celebration of growth, change, and fidelity. Through all the pair faces, they make one thing clear from the opening moments of “Happy New Year”: “You know you’ll always be my best friend.” (www.letseatgrandma.co.uk)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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