Tag: Zola Jesus (Page 2 of 3)

IOANNA GIKA Thalassa

IOANNA GIKA is a Greek American artist who is part of IO ECHO, a band who have opened for NINE INCH NAILS, JON HOPKINS and HAIM amongst others.

She also writes film scores, having been notably shortlisted by the academy for her original song ‘Gone’ from ‘Snow White & The Huntsman’. Citing her Hellenic heritage, Gika releases her debut solo album ‘Thalassa’, named after the Greek primeval spirit of the sea.

Compared to the likes of WEYES BLOOD, ZOLA JESUS or MYRKUR, Gika showcases her own private take on loss and death experienced in Greece.

“A series of deaths drew me home to Greece. The city of childhood memories was in disrepair.” she recalled, “I drove past painted swastikas towards burial sites. I said goodbyes and grieved for those I didn’t get to say goodbye to. ‘Thalassa’ is about going through change that is unwanted yet unstoppable. It is a document of the dread, the adrenaline, and the surrender in the moments when you realize the only way to survive the wave, is to brace yourself and go through.”

Recorded between Athens and California, the opus features additional production from Leopold Ross and engineering from Hugo Nicholson. Gika opens ‘Thalassa’ with simplistically beautiful melody, which quickly transcends into a feeling of dread in ‘Roseate’, expanding into directions not readily expected.

‘Out Of Focus’ claims more of an immediate perception of motion and necessity. Delicately placed electronic elements meander around the central vocal, creating urgency and confusion, seemingly clear to the artist herself.

The eponymous piece of ‘Thalassa’ marks the feeling of being thrown into the depths of the sea, unaware of the possibility of saving yourself or the ones you lost. The track is wonderfully cinematic and rather ethereal, with haunting vocals and sparse instrumentation.

The urgency returns with ‘The Messenger’, which is running towards an unknown goal, punctuated with operatic vocals and perpetual beat of misshapen bass.

Graceful and poised on the surface, but frantic underneath the water, ‘Swan’ is a melodically beautiful ballad, calming like a stroke of Mother’s hand, gentle and nurturing. ‘Weathervane’ lays Gika’s vocals bare, mourning and lamenting those long gone, melancholically drawing in deeper and deeper.

The sea’s ‘New Geometry’ doesn’t add up, not wanting to let up. California meets the Ionian Coast in a rapid rhythm, building up to the long sought answers, but is she finally fulfilled? Supposedly not, ‘No Matter What’. A more tribal feel of Wiccan origins, swirling in the abyss of unanswered pleas and desperately trying to get to the surface; or is it just a never ending ‘Spiral’?

Finally Gika finds herself ‘Drifting’, but she’s “too far from the shore”. Magnificently performed with a stunning clear vocal, the song aims to warn and set on the right path, hoping it’s not too late.

‘Thalassa’ may be a debut, but it is a debut from an artist who knows exactly which direction to take to wow the listeners. Not as heavy as ZOLA JESUS can be, but equally emotive and potent, Gika proves that her voice and artistry can produce a stunning record, which will transcend time and calm the senses, no matter what themes it is based on.


‘Thalassa’ is released by Sargent House, available in CD, vinyl LP and digital formats

https://sargenthouse.com/ioanna-gika

https://www.facebook.com/ioannagika/

https://twitter.com/ioannagika

http://instagram.com/ioannagika

https://ioannagika.bandcamp.com/album/thalassa


Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
24th April 2019

2018 End Of Year Review

2018 saw JEAN-MICHEL JARRE celebrate 50 years in the business and whether the world really needed another of his compilations, ‘Planet Jarre’ was probably one of the better collected representations of his work for casual admirers.

But not standing still and releasing his fourth new album in three years, ‘Equinoxe Infinity’ continued the story as the French Maestro tuned 70.

SOFT CELL made a totally unexpected return for a huge one-off farewell gig at London’s O2 Arena; and with it came a boxed set, the ‘Northern Lights’ single and other new recordings which have raised hopes for a new album.

From the same era, FIAT LUX announced plans for their debut album ‘Save Symmetry’ with an excellent lead track ‘It’s You’, while B-MOVIE came up with their most synth-propelled single yet in ‘Stalingrad’.

But one act who actually did comeback with a brand new album in 2018 were DUBSTAR; now a duo of Sarah Blackwood and Chris Wilkie, as ‘One’ they reminded audiences as to why they were the acceptable face of Britpop with their bridge to Synth Britannia.

IONNALEE finally released her debut opus ‘Everyone Afraid To Be Forgotten’ and her tour which included choice cuts from IAMAMIWHOAMI, proved to be one of the best value-for-money live experiences in 2018, one that was even endorsed by Welsh songstress Charlotte Church.

CHVRCHES offered up their third album ‘Love Is Dead’ and continued their role as international flagwavers for quality synthpop, while EMIKA presented her best album yet in ‘Falling In Love With Sadness’, an exquisite electronic record with a Bohemian aura.

JOHN GRANT was on an artistic roll both solo and in partnership with WRANGLER as CREEP SHOW with two new albums. However, he was beaten by Neil Arthur who managed three albums over a 12 month period as NEAR FUTURE and BLANCMANGE including ‘Wanderlust’, possibly the latter’s best body of work in its 21st Century incarnation.

It was a busy year for STEVE JANSEN with a new solo ambient work ‘Corridor’, the well-received vinyl reissue of JAPAN’s two Virgin-era studio albums and his epic, more organically flavoured band project EXIT NORTH with their debut long player ‘Book Of Romance & Dust’.

SARAH NIXEY went on some ‘Night Walks’ for her best solo album yet, a wonderful collection of everything she had ever been musically all wonderfully rolled into one.

Meanwhile TRACEY THORN went back to the ‘Dancefloor’ with her ‘Record’ which content wise was right up there with some of ALISON MOYET’s electronica output from the last five years.

Those who liked their electronic music darker were well served with NINE INCH NAILS, IAMX, KIRLIAN CAMERA and HELIX, but after experimenting with the single only format for a few years, Daniel Graves announced he was taking the plunge again with a new AESTHETIC PERFECTION album.

The Sacred Bones stable provided some quality releases from THE SOFT MOON, HILARY WOODS, ZOLA JESUS and JOHN CARPENTER. Meanwhile, providing some fierce socio-political commentary on the state of the UK was GAZELLE TWIN.

Hungary’s BLACK NAIL CABARET offered some noirish ‘Pseudopop’ and promising Norwich youngsters LET’S EAT GRANDMA got more deeply into electronica without losing any of their angsty teenage exuberance on their second album ‘I’m All Ears’.

Less intense and more dreamy were GLASSHOUSE, the new duo fronted by former TECHNIQUE singer Xan Tyler.

Aussies CONFIDENCE MAN provided some wacky dancey glitz to the pop world and after nearly four decades in the business, Canadian trailblazers RATIONAL YOUTH finally played their first ever concert in London at ‘Non Stop Electronic Cabaret’ alongside dark wave compatriots PSYCHE and Numan-influenced Swedish poptronica exponents PAGE.

Sweden was again highly productive with KARIN PARK, JOHAN BAECKSTRÖM, TRAIN TO SPAIN and VAL SOLO while Norway took their own approach with FARAOSOFT AS SNOW and ELECTRO SPECTRE setting their standard. Veteran Deutschlanders THE TWINS and PETER HEPPNER returned with new albums after notable recorded absences while next door in Belgium, METROLAND presented themselves as ‘Men In A Frame’.

While the new HEAVEN 17 album ‘Not For Public Broadcast’ is still to be finished, Glenn Gregory teamed by with live keyboardist Berenice Scott as AFTERHERE. Their long-time friend Claudia Brücken performed as xPROPAGANDA with Susanne Freytag and partnered up with one-time TANGERINE DREAM member Jerome Froese, releasing the ‘Beginn’ album in the process.

It was a year of interesting collaborations all-round with UNDERWORLD working with Iggy Pop, U96 linking up with Wolfgang Flür for an excellent single called ‘Zukunftsmusik’ and German techno pioneer CHRIS LIEBING recruiting POLLY SCATTERGOOD and GARY NUMAN for his Mute released album ‘Burn Slow’.

Based in Berlin, THE KVB offered up some brooding gothic moods with ‘Only Now Forever’ while Valerie Renay of NOBLESSE OBLIGE released her first solo album ‘Your Own Shadow’.

Highly appealing were a number of quirky Japanese influenced female artists from around the globe including COMPUTER MAGIC, MECHA MAIKO and PLASMIC. But there were also a number of acts with Far Eastern heritage like STOLEN, FIFI RONG, DISQO VOLANTE and SHOOK who continued to make a worthy impression with their recorded output in 2018.

Heavy synth rock duo NIGHT CLUB presented their ‘Scary World’ on the back of tours opening for COMBICHRIST and A PERFECT CIRCLE while also from across the pond, NYXX and SINOSA both showcased their alluring potential.

At the poppier end of the spectrum, Holger Wobker used Pledge Music to relaunch BOYTRONIC with their most recent vocal incumbent James Knights in an unexpected twist to once again prove the old adage to “never say never” as far as the music industry is concerned.

Meanwhile, Chris Payne co-wrote and co-produced the excellent ‘Walking In West Berlin’ EP with KATJA VON KASSEL while also revealing plans for an autobiography and opening for his old boss…

The surprise album of the year was CHRIS CARTER with his ‘Chemistry Lessons Volume One’ while using a not dissimilar concept with their second album ‘Hello Science’, REED & CAROLINE took their folk laden synthpop out on a US tour opening for ERASURE.

IMMERSION provided a new collection of their modern Motorik as SHRIEKBACK, FISCHERSPOONER, THE PRESETS, HEARTBREAK and QUEEN OF HEARTS all made comebacks of varying degrees with audiences still eager for their work.

STEVEN JONES & LOGAN SKY harked back to the days when GARY NUMAN and OMD would release two albums in one year by offering ‘Hans Und Lieselotte’ and ‘The Electric Eye’ in 2016. Those veteran acts themselves celebrated their 40th anniversaries by going orchestral, something which SIMPLE MINDS also did when they opted to re-record ‘Alive & Kicking’ for the ’80s Symphonic’ collection although Jim Kerr forgot how a third of the song went!

With SIMPLE MINDS also performing a horrible and barely recognisable ‘Promised You A Miracle’ during BBC’s ‘The Biggest Weekend’, making up for the live joke that his former band have become was one-time bassist Derek Forbes with the album ‘Broken Hearted City’ as ZANTi with Anni Hogan of MARC & THE MAMBAS fame.

Other former members of high-profile bands were busy too with Ian Burden, formally of THE HUMAN LEAGUE returning with the Floydian ‘Hey Hey Ho Hum’ while A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS reformed briefly for an orchestral re-run of their catalogue.

With the release of their second album ‘Kinetik’, EKKOES handed over THE HUMAN LEAGUE support baton to SHELTER who came up with their best body of work yet in the more introspective shades of ‘Soar’

That darker approach manifested itself on singer Mark Bebb’s side project FORM with Keith Trigwell of SPEAK & SPELL whose debut long player ‘defiance + entropy’ also came out in 2018.

Having been championed by RÖYSKSOPP, Wales’ MAN WITHOUT COUNTRY returned with ‘Infinity Mirror’ while riding on the well-deserved momentum from opening for OMD, Ireland’s TINY MAGNETIC PETS embarked on their first headlining tour.

Representing North of the border were RYAN VAIL and HANNAH PEEL, but hailing from Scotland were WITCH OF THE VALE who proved to be one of the most interesting new acts of 2018 having supported ASSEMBLAGE 23 on their most recent UK visit. There was a good showing from UK acts in 2018 with RODNEY CROMWELL, ANI GLASS, THE FRIXION, NEW ARCADES, OLLIE WRIDE and FAKE TEAK all issuing some excellent synth tinged songs for public consumption.

NINA’s long awaited debut album ‘Sleepwalking’ was a fine hybrid of synthpop and the currently fashionable Synthwave aesthetic; her live double billing with Canadian synthpopsters PARALLELS was one of the hottest tickets of the year.

The sub-genre was indeed making waves and there were some very enjoyable artists coming out of it like GUNSHIP, DANA JEAN PHOENIX and MICHAEL OAKLEY.

However, the endless AOR excesses, moonlight sax breaks and highly unimaginative band monikers using numbers between 80 to 89 affixed to an archaic technology reference, illustrated by yet another neon sunset, VCR grid and Lamborghini, were becoming tiresome.

As Synthwave cynics, ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK’s touch paper was being lit big time! The whole point of the synthesizer’s role during the Second British Invasion of the US was to fight against the insipid overtures of AOR like TOTO, CHICAGO and JOURNEY, NOT to make music coated with its horrid stench as THE MIDNIGHT did in 2018 with their long player ‘Kids’.

But there was naivety within some quarters too; electronic music did not begin in 2011 with ‘Drive’, an above average film with a good if slightly over rated soundtrack. However, its cultural influence has led to a plethora of meandering tracks made by gamer boys which sounded like someone had forgotten to sing on them; perhaps they should have gone back to 1978 and listened to GIORGIO MORODER’s ‘Midnight Express Theme’ to find out how this type of instrumental music should be done?

Many of the newer artists influenced by Synth Britannia that ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK has featured have sometimes been accused of being stuck in the past, but a fair number of Synthwave acts were really taking the soggy biscuit with their retro-obsession.

Rock band MUSE’s use of glowing artwork by Kyle Lambert of ‘Stranger Things’ fame on their eighth album ‘Simulation Theory’ sent sections of the Synthwave community into meltdown. There were cries that they had “stolen the aesthetics and concept” and how “it’s not relevant to their sound”!

But WHAM! had Peter Saville designed sleeves and never sounded like NEW ORDER or OMD, while electropop diva LA ROUX used a visual stylisation for ‘In For The Kill’ that has since been claimed by Synthwavers as their own, despite it being from 2009 when Ryan Gosling was peddling graveyard indie rock in DEAD MAN’S BONES 😉

This was one of the bigger ironies of 2018, especially as MUSE have always used synths! One of Matt Bellamy and co’s biggest musical inspirations is ULTRAVOX, indicating the trio probably have a better understanding of the fusion between the synthesizer, rock and classical music, as proven by the ‘Simulation Theory’ bookends ‘Algorithm’ and ‘The Void’, than any static laptop exponent with a Jan Hammer fixation.

It is interesting to note today how electronic music has split into so many factions, but there’s still the assumed generalisation that it is all one thing and that synthpop fans must also like Synthwave, Deep House, EDM, Industrial and those tedious beach chill-out remixes.

Back in the day and even now, some fans of THE HUMAN LEAGUE didn’t like OMD, DEPECHE MODE fans only liked DEPECHE MODE and rock fans had a token favourite electronic band.

Out of all the acts from the Synth Britannia era, ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK had very little time for THOMPSON TWINS despite their huge international success, but their leader Tom Bailey’s 2018 solo recorded return ‘Science Fiction’ was warmly received by many.

Just as COLDPLAY and SNOW PATROL fans don’t all embrace ELBOW, it is ok to have preferences and to say so. Not liking the music of an artist does not make you a bad person, but liking everything does not make you a better person either… in fact, it shows you probably have no discerning taste! In 2002, SOFT CELL warned of a ‘Monoculture’, and if there is no taste differentiation in art and music, it will spell the end of cultural enhancement.

Taste is always the key, but then not everyone who loves chocolate likes Hersheys… and with that analogy, ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK bids farewell to 2018 and looks forward to a 2019 that includes the return of TEARS FOR FEARS and the first full live shows from GIORGIO MORODER, plus new releases by VILE ELECTRODESKITE, VILLA NAH, I AM SNOW ANGEL and LADYTRON.


ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK Contributor Listings of 2018

PAUL BODDY

Best Album: MAN WITHOUT COUNTRY Infinity Mirror
Best Song: MAN WITHOUT COUNTRY Lafayette
Best Gig: TANGERINE DREAM at London Union Chapel
Best Video: THE SOFT MOON Give Something
Most Promising New Act: VOX LOW


IAN FERGUSON

Best Album: BLANCMANGE Wanderlust
Best Song: ELECTRO SPECTRE The Way You Love
Best Gig: OMD at Glasgow Kelvingrove Park
Best Video: NYXX Voodoo
Most Promising New Act: WITCH OF THE VALE


SIMON HELM

Best Album: DUBSTAR One
Best Song: PAGE Start (Poptronica Version)
Best Gig: DIE KRUPPS + FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY at O2 Academy Islington
Best Video: FIFI RONG Horizon
Most Promising New Act: ZANTi


CHI MING LAI

Best Album: EMIKA Falling In Love With Sadness
Best Song: FIAT LUX It’s You
Best Gig: SOFT CELL at London O2 Arena
Best Video: FAKE TEAK Bears Always Party The Exact Right Amount
Most Promising New Act: WITCH OF THE VALE


MONIKA IZABELA TRIGWELL

Best Album: GUNSHIP Dark All Day
Best Song: SHELTER Karma
Best Gig: IAMX at London Electric Ballroom
Best Video: JUNO REACTOR Let’s Turn On
Most Promising New Act: MECHA MAIKO


Text by Chi Ming Lai
8th December 2018

KARIN PARK Blue Roses EP

One of Sweden’s biggest exports and otherwise a much underrated Synth Princess, KARIN PARK returns with ‘Blue Roses’.

Her last long player ‘Apocalypse Pop’ showed a further growth in what can only be described as a neoclassical amalgamation of synth and then Park took to the stage, performing in the Norwegian version of ‘Les Miserables’, playing the role of Fantine. The musical turned out to be the most popular in its genre and Park proved again that whatever she does, is perfection.

The break from her solo releases also gave way to the newest project PANDORA DRIVE, with whom the multi-talented artist released ‘Albino Heart’ EP earlier this year.

‘Blue Roses’ continues the trends set on ‘Apocalypse Pop’, with the eponymous single creeping from a melancholic affair, into an inferno of ominous sounding bass and powerful, if childlike vocals, building up to an expansive cinematic piece of dread.

Park goes for the throat here: “If you see me with a gun in my hand, stay off my sacred land”. Park comes back to basics here, using the tribal elements and keeping things demure.

The fear factor enters in ‘Roaring Ocean’ co-written with Richard X, which cuts through like a knife in a Kate Bush fashion and the piano has never sounded this spooky. Yet, there’s hope, there’s beauty, there’s a reason to go on.

The whole affair is rather poetic, almost Poe-esque, while ‘Glass House’ introduces bluesy connotations and reminisces the latest achievements from ZOLA JESUS. ‘The Sharp Edge’ announces itself in a melodramatic and discordant way, frightening the receiver further.

Park certainly returns with the renewed power, maybe with the additional militant elements she’s ready to take on new challenges, both sonically and visually.

Either way, ‘Blue Roses’ stands out… in KARIN PARK fashion.


‘Blue Roses’ is released by Djura Missionshus

http://www.karinpark.com/

http://www.facebook.com/karinpark

https://twitter.com/karinpark

https://www.instagram.com/karinparkofficial/


Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
Photo by Thomas Knights
17th November 2018

GAZELLE TWIN Pastoral

As innocent and idyllic as the new album title from GAZELLE TWIN sounds, those who are well familiar with Elizabeth Bernholz’s previous output, won’t be fooled.

The queen of all things weird and wonderful is back after the highly acclaimed ‘Unflesh’.

‘Pastoral’ should be glorifying her new found life in the depths of Old England, a move amidst other life changing events; instead, it “exhumes England’s rotten past, and shines a torch over its ever-darkening present”.

No matter what century we live in, the evil, greed and consumption have gone full circle, no matter “What species is this? What century? What atmosphere? What government?”, as questioned with choral voices in the opening ‘Folly’, with the intro like DEPECHE MODE’s ‘The Great Outdoors’ played backwards.

If things were indeed ‘Better In My Day’, which is proposed in a house / rave notion with the additional twists from frenzied electronics, then “the world with jobs, no foreigners, no locked doors and kids full of respect” was “much better in my day”.

The tribal sounds of what promised to be lovely and cuddly in ‘Little Lambs’ is nothing of the kind. Almost ritualistic, the mantric rhythm sounds scary, and the “little lambs” are us: the little island dwellers, fed lies and distractions to keep us away from the bigger picture. “Save yourselves” the synthesised voice warns, before ‘Old Thorn’ ushers the “multi-gender voices, in vernaculars old and new” as if.

‘Dieu Et Mon Droit’, sung with a KATE BUSH poise, crown the otherwise sad state of affairs described here. Bernholz’s vocal goes male on ‘Throne’ in monophonic rhythm, spitting out words with disgust: “Scratching, Picking, The wound, Bleeds, Pus, Flows, Sticks, Stinks”.

‘Mongrel’ describes a new breed of humans and the new behaviours which are ridden with self-assurance, opinionated yet easily offended over nothing, but it suits them. The opening questions from ‘Folly’ return, “What species is this? What century?”

The glorious Old England won’t come back as in ‘Glory’, delivered in the style of ZOLA JESUS goes mediaeval.

The Wiccan imaginary beaten out of the drum ritual sees new found sounds and experiences Eastern influences in the plethora of styles, each as distant from each other, as they are close.

The meeting in the good Old English ‘Tea Rooms’ won’t bring the illusion of “pastoral picture”; the reality is far uglier than the idyllically drawn “hedgerows and steeples” or “cattle, tearooms”, because there’s also the “roadkill” and the village square sees executions as well as happy country summer fetes.

‘Jerusalem’ mocks the “ideal citizen”, with the sneer from the riddler, while ‘Dance Of Peddlers’ utilises early instrumentation in the form of recorders intertwined with courtly jester music, spitting out the truth at once: “It’s the Middle Ages, But with lesser wages”.

The first single from ‘Pastoral’, ‘Hobby Horse’ is as deranged and as mysterious as any work of GAZELLE TWIN, but this time she spells it out: “Pack on the loose but I can’t let them in here, My fears are growing, My wounds are showing, My time is up I want to get the f*ck out of here NOW”. She mocks ‘Ye Olde’ and ‘The Everyman’ of the English cliché, brandishing a sneer and a hobby horse.

Certainly not the ‘Sunny Stories’ expected by the title, it’s “All your history’s happened now”, mystically performed with a compelling, eerie vocal, whistling in the country winds and reverberating in the darker skies, with no stars present. Darkness, just darkness out there…

Maybe a better life lies ‘Over The Hills’, a happy country song delivered while riding and we are back to the “good old days”, where “King George commands and we obey”, and there are still “Flanders, Portugal and Spain”, even if they’re getting further and further.

Elizabeth Bernholz hasn’t disappointed in the “deranged, absurd reflection of deranged and absurd times”. Her village square isn’t a source of empty joys, her country cottage isn’t the perfect, magical place and her Old English neighbours aren’t the friendly country folk, ready to help in need.

No, there is horror in every idyll, and danger lurking beyond the ‘quaint’ and she’s not fooled. She will sit there in her red 21st century jester outfit on and make you laugh!

I’m sorry, did I say laugh!? No, she’ll make you reflect and cry over the state of affairs, but only if you choose to see it.


‘Pastoral’ is released on 21st September 2018 by Anti-Ghost Moon Ray as a red vinyl LP, CD and download available from https://gazelletwin.tstor.es

GAZELLE TWIN 2018 live dates include:

Gent Vooruit (20th September), Station Narva Festival (22nd September), Warsaw New Theatre (3rd October – ‘Kingdom Come’ performance), Manchester Soup Kitchen (5th October), Brighton Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts (11th October), London Somerset House Lancaster Rooms (16th November)

http://www.gazelletwin.com/

https://www.facebook.com/gazelletwin

https://twitter.com/gazelletwin

https://www.instagram.com/gazelletwin/

http://www.antighostmoonray.com


Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
18th September 2018

LET’S EAT GRANDMA I’m All Ears

Older music enthusiasts often express their despair about how things are “not what they used to be” with regards young new talent.

Often, the radio airwaves are bombarded with either autotuned pop wannabes or angsty folkies acting far too old for their years.

So it has been quite refreshing to come across an act who are genuinely quirky and out there, as well as rebelling by not towing the X-Factor party line despite having only just left school.

Norwich duo LET’S EAT GRANDMA were just 17 when they released their debut album ‘I, Gemini’ in 2016 with a nod to American freak folk pairing COCOROSIE. Despite not being related, the pair presented themselves as twins but over the two years since, Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth have developed their own lives and identities.

Like any friendships formed during childhood, this was inevitable so when Walton formed her first relationship, Hollingworth found herself a new social circle while developing an interest in electronic music and vintage synths.

Now coming together with a new found confidence as individuals, their experiences have manifested themselves onto their second album ‘I’m All Ears’, resulting in a more much diverse record compared to their debut. Like a TV show with eleven scenes, ‘Whitewater’ with its electronic backbone acts as the album’s futuristic instrumental theme while offset by rugged bursts by cello.

The feisty single ‘Hot Pink’ is a celebration of femininity that comes over like a baby ZOLA JESUS meeting CHARLI XCX; this is perhaps not totally unsurprising as the latter’s Glaswegian producer SOPHIE is also behind the studio controls here, along with Faris Badwan of THE HORRORS.

The brilliantly wonky synthpop of ‘It’s Not Just Me’ is an indication of how much LET’S EAT GRANDMA have evolved. Still maintaining the core character of Walton and Hollingworth’s delightfully odd harmony attached to their subversive spirit, there are clear points of melodic accessibility too.

The percussive ‘Falling Into Me’ is structured into several different sections using some varied musical palettes, showcasing the duo’s willingness to think outside the box for interesting song arrangements. A combination of guitar and string machine colours the more introspective ‘Snakes & Ladders’, while ‘I Will Be Waiting’ sounds not unlike FEVER RAY attempting a CHVRCHES number.

The organ-led instrumental ‘The Cat’s Pyjamas’ effectively acts as an intro to ‘Cool & Collected’ which at nine minutes makes an epic statement about insecurity. Despite the progressive influence of GENESIS, the very slow build perhaps stretches things out a bit too much. But to their credit, it’s an indication of LET’S EAT GRANDMA’s sense of ambition if nothing else. That ambition is more successfully realised on ‘Donnie Darko’, their eleven minute tribute to the troubled teenager haunted by a monstrous rabbit-like figure.

Utilising melodic guitar reminiscent of THE DURUTTI COLUMN at the start before morphing into a wonderful movement of cascading electronics set to a metronomic beat, there are also some passionate reflections in an afflicted vocal style recalling POLLY SCATTERGOOD on the subject of human suffering. And then without warning, ‘Donnie Darko’ drifts into a glorious synthony before calming to its conclusion.

While not perfect, this album has plenty to enjoy about it. A personal record that retains a degree of innocence while establishing an understanding of more worldly issues, ‘I’m All Ears’ marks LET’S EAT GRANDMA as an act of great potential who will only get better and impress further.


‘I’m All Ears’ is released by Transgressive Records/PIAS in CD, double vinyl LP and digital formats

LET’S EAT GRANDMA 2018 live dates include:

Vancouver Fortune Sound Club (30 August), Seattle Bumbershoot 2018 (31 August) Portland Doug Fir Lounge (1 September), San Francisco Rickshaw Stop (3 September), Los Angeles Moroccan Lounge (4 September), Chicago Empty Bottle (6 September), Toronto Drake Hotel (7 September), Montreal Bar le Ritz (8 September), Allston Great Scott (10 September), Brooklyn Baby’s All Right (12 September), Washington DC U Street Music Hall (13 September), London Heaven (27 September), Utrecht TivoliVredenburg (3 November)*, Brussels Ancienne Belgique (5 November)*, Cologne Live Music Hall (6 November)*, Berlin Tempodrom (7 November)*, Hamburg Docks (9 November)*, Stuttgart LKA-Longhorn (11 November)*, Munich Muffathalle (12 November)*, Milan Fabrique (14 November)*, Lausanne Les Docks (15 November)*, Luxembourg Den Atelier (16 November)*

*opening for CHVRCHES

http://letseatgrandma.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/thelegofgrandma/

https://twitter.com/thelegofgrandma

https://www.instagram.com/thelegofgrandma/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photo by Charlotte Pattmore
8th July 2018, updated 9th July 2018

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