Let’s Eat Grandma Are Already Redefining Their Sublime, Weirdo Pop
We’re premiering the teen duo's video for new summer banger “It's Not Just Me”, co-produced by SOPHIE and Faris Badwan.
Lead image by Charlotte Patmore
Two years ago, Let’s Eat Grandma were almost a different band. Back then, the UK duo, who were both 16, had just released their debut album I, Gemini, an impressive collection of whimsical, weirdo pop – just as shrouded in dreaminess as it was in gloom – with helium-high vocals and witchlike lyrics that spoke of sea creatures, mushrooms, secrecy. If you’ve heard their new music, though, you’ll know all of that was just the very first chapter. Now 18, Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth have teamed up with producers SOPHIE, Faris Badwan of The Horrors and David Wrench (Frank Ocean, The XX, FKA twigs), to form a slicker, freakier and more direct sound than what’s come before. Their older stuff was great, but, IMO, this stuff is exceptional.
But don’t just take my word for it. You can hear this progression for yourself on new track “It’s Not Just Me”, which you can peep below. The single follows “Hot Pink” and “Falling Into Me,” two hyper-saturated, synth-driven songs that combine all the technological elasticity of PC Music with the pure, leftfield pop perfection of acts like Grimes, Lorde and Charli XCX. All three songs come off their upcoming album I’m All Ears, out in June, but we’re focused on “It’s Not Just Me” because: a) it follows the trajectory of the previous two exciting singles; b) it fizzes with aliveness, like a particularly stinky sourdough starter and c) we’re premiering its visuals.
On it, the duo sing lines like: “The point is that it’s not just me, the point is you feel my company / I don’t wanna say goodbye, guess I’ll see you when my screen is vibrating,” over the super-sweet, glossy electronics and 80s-style drum beats. You know when you first start dating someone who you really like and you’re in that blissful but very tentative stage where you keep dipping your toe in the metaphorical water? This song captures that feeling and bottles it. It's enchanted.
Let’s Eat Grandma’s evolution isn’t just the result of reaching their late teens and enlisting an impressive array of co-producers. The duo have also spent the last two years falling in love with technology. When we speak – their voices crackling over the phone line from Paris – they tell me how their electronic obsessions have redefined the way they view songwriting. “There are a lot more layers to our tracks now, because we don’t have to focus solely on what we can physically play,” Rosa tells me, before Jenny jumps in.
“Yeah, it’s about being even more deliberate with structure as well. When you’re writing on a laptop screen, you can see each section mapped out, so that’s shaped how we view songs.” This approach has lead them to experiment more too. “We’ve done things like add a smashed glass, or sample my Nokia mobile phone in ‘Hot Pink’,” Rosa says, adding that Faris Badwan was up for trying anything. “He’s very creative in terms of a track’s storyline and using sounds to emphasise that.”
When it came to writing “It’s Not Just Me”, though, they kept it organic, with each of them writing a verse each, and weaving it together like a daisy chain. The result is a love song that feels ambiguous, or even dualistic. “The song has two different meanings,” Rosa explains. “The first verse is about a romantic relationship and the second is about a friendship. So the song works either way. It’s just about being there for someone, and the importance of having strong relationships.” Jenny continues: “I also think that when we’re performing it, the song could be about our friendship as well.”
The video – directed by Balan Evans and shot in Ibiza – feels more reflective of that latter interpretation, as they both dance together on a beach while the sun goes down, looking perfectly at ease in each other’s company. “We just wanted a holiday!” says Rosa, laughing. “But because we wrote the song in LA with SOPHIE, we also imagined warm weather and beaches, and we just couldn’t think how that would work in the UK.” That, given what’s felt like the longest winter in years, is totally fair.
So for Let’s Eat Grandma, the next few months will be spent doing what most bands do around the release of an album – festivals, a bunch of promo and a tour of the UK and Europe that will culminate in a headline slot at London’s Heaven – but aside from that, the friends want to get creative. Before we wrap up our conversation so that they can search the warm streets of Paris for some tasty dinner, they tentatively tell me that they’ll be putting a zine together. “It’s going to go with the album!” says Jenny, with Rosa adding, “We’re getting some of our friends who do creative stuff to get involved with it.” I want to know more. Will there be artwork? Poetry? I already want one. I make a mental note to message them in the future and ask for one. “Who knows,” says Jenny. “You’ll just have to wait and see!”
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