Let's Eat Grandma

St John's Church Hackney, London - 6 August 2016

"Something special is happening here, watch this space"

This show, an afternoon slot at St John's Church Hackney, was part of this year's Visions Festival in London.

Dressed virtually identically and faces covered by similarly almost identical tousled auburn tresses, Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth (two 17 year olds from Norwich) opened with the lush and evocative Deep Six Textbook, the atmosphere and acoustics of the church adding a depth and resonance to the sound. There was a rawness throughout the performance, from the 'rag doll' dancing and loosely choreographed stage movements, to the punkish attitude of the importance of ideas and content over technical skills, that added to it's appeal and intimacy. It was good to see them both laugh and smile when some of their synchronized stage moves briefly went wrong at one point.

The songs, sometimes bittersweet, warm and minimalist, sometimes far darker and disturbing, cast a spell over the engrossed audience. Somehow looking even younger than their ages today, this performance really was a testament to the duo's youthful experimentation, lack of fear and sheer creavity and inventiveness. There's an atmosphere of brooding childhood fears and insecurities along with a dark nightmarish/fairytale quality to some of the songs, while others are glorious pulsing minimalist anthems.

[Let's Eat Grandma]   [Let's Eat Grandma]   [Let's Eat Grandma]

Trying to describe the sound of new artists without resorting to comparisons of the familiar is never easy. I can only say that while feeling echo's and reminders of some of my favourite ambient/art pop artists in places, Let's Eat Grandma always retained their own special sound and identity. Though primarily a keyboard/synth based sound, with Rosa and Jenny at times both playing parts on the same keyboard, they employed multiple instruments throughout the set. From sax to recorder, primal electric guitar, drums and more. Always playing each for effect, with their invention and creativity outweighing any need for showy technical prowess.

There was a refreshing originality and lack of conformity to most of the material and presentation. Fabulous versions of Sleep Song and Sink were among the many highlights of the varied set. The only blemish for me being the slightly dodgey 'mockney' rap style vocal on Eat Shitake Mushrooms early in the set, which was easily forgiven with the fabulous music that followed. Something special is happening here, watch this space. Highly recommended. 8+/10

Setlist: Deep Six Textbook, Eat Shitake Mushrooms, Sax In The City, Sleep Song, Rapunzel, Sink

Review+Photos: Cliff Champman