Let’s Eat Grandma fascinate and unsettle with I, Gemini

GeminiLet’s Eat Grandma are Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth, a pair of off kilter multi-instrumentalists who have been best friends since meeting in infant school aged four. Their sound is an eclectic form of experimental electronica; psychedelic, unpredictable and at times wilfully unsettling. The precocious duo have been gaining a real buzz over the last few months and now, aged just 16 and 17, are due to release their debut album I, Gemini through Transgressive Records.

Opening with "Deep Six Textbook", Let’s Eat Grandma introduce their style gradually, the track’s hypnotic down tempo thud and elfin vocals giving a flavour of things to come before the gears shift and new single "Eat Shiitake Mushrooms" catapults you headfirst into a pool of swirling experimental psych pop. The song builds brilliantly from its sparse glockenspiel intro to introduce organs, harsh synths and pounding drums to compelling effect. Upon the arrival of vocals the song mutates once more before moving into an almost Die Antwoord-esque rap breakdown, the cumulative result of which is a track that sounds like the lead single off a mixtape by the children of the corn.

The highlight of the album comes early on "Sax In The City", which explodes from its Sgt Peppers tinged intro into a filthy fuzzed out delta blues riff which backs the duo as they paint a nightmarish vision of a population enslaved by smartphones and tablets. The dark and surrealist atmosphere of this track is a pervading theme on the album. Walton and Hollingworth juxtapose ominous music with childlike subject matter and vocal delivery which makes for songs that could easily soundtrack a Brothers Grimm fairytale, most obviously on "Rapunzel".

It is a real shame based on the above songs that the quality drops off for the remainder. Bafflingly, considering the imagination and eclecticism on display on many of the tracks, their structure becomes predictably 'zaney' by the midpoint. For example, chances are there will be an unsettling instrumental intro which goes on for a bit too long such as on "Chimpanzees In Canopies", and considering how brilliantly the beginning of the album keeps the listener guessing this is a real disappointment. "Sleep Song" is the album’s weakest track. Built around aurally jarring fairground organs and with no real movement it sounds as though a two minute filler track has been mercilessly stretched to last over six minutes.

When I, Gemini disappoints it is because it strays over the line from being quirky into being irksome. At its best however, what you get is some fascinating music that is all the more impressive coming as it does from two people who aren’t yet even old enough to vote. Though there are parts of the album which can be disparaged, based on the individualism of the music it seems unlikely that this will bother Walton and Hollingworth all too much. They have succeeded in setting out their stall and it will be interesting to see how their sound develops in the future.

Release: 17th June 2016, Transgressive Records

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