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Let’s Eat Grandma released their second album, I’m All Ears, in 2018. It came out to a blaze of critical glory, thrilled fans who’d been with them since I, Gemini, and won them interested new listeners as they widened their musical scope. They won Album of the Year at the Q Awards along with many end of year list placements, toured relentlessly, played a life-changing set at Coachella, and then… they disappeared.
Two Ribbons tells the story of the last three years from both Jenny and Rosa’s points of view. As a body of work, it is astonishing: a dazzling, heart-breaking, life-affirming and mortality-facing record that reveals their growing artistry and ability to parse intense feeling into lyrics so memorable you’d scribble them on your backpack. The band has been through a lot in the last three years, and Two Ribbons is the artefact that signals some kind of progression out of distressing times; a story of loss, change, and of survival; a proof of life.
Such was the intensity of Jenny and Rosa’s bond that when they promoted their first album, they positioned themselves as twins. Friends since early childhood, they had graduated into a teenage friendship that was unbreakable and practically telepathic. Those intense and all-consuming friendships are subject to the same ebbs and flows as any other, and as they grew older the two began to find themselves as individuals, tastes differing here, reactions jarring there. There was a time when both felt a little trapped, and needed to fight to create the space to express themselves as individuals within their relationship.
And so the partnership began to fray. Two Ribbons can be heard as a series of letters between the two of them, taking the place of conversations as they try to make sense of the rift in their relationships. It’s a cathartic blood-letting and a devastating realisation about the fickleness of life. Though it is still very much a Let’s Eat Grandma album, for the first time there are Rosa’s songs and Jenny’s songs.
Both Rosa and Jenny found themselves more involved in the production of this album, experimenting with new sounds and diverse instrumentations within the studio, collaborating with David Wrench, also the primary producer of I’m All Ears. On this record Rosa in particular threw herself into the behind the scenes work and driving her own sonic agenda, whilst Jenny sought to synthesise new influences to forge new spaces artistically for the group.
The backdrop to Two Ribbons is two women navigating their way through a lot, for the first time without the tiller of each other to guide them. The songs they wrote and eventually brought to each other are little pockets of light in the darkness, signals in the night to show each other how they were feeling and what they had lost.
Two Ribbons is an album that treads a fine line expressing the most intimate feelings of, whilst making space for, the different perspectives of two women; an album that says this is not the beginning or the end but part of a never-ending circle. It’s cyclical in nature; there is sadness, and pain, and joy, and hope – and knows that no matter what detours we take, we are all connected.
Barry says: I've definitely got a bit of a thing for synths, this much I know. I've also historically loved all sorts of synth music but particularly 80's tinged pop, I loved the Kristen Kontrol LP some years ago, Christine & The Queens AND Georgia, and 'Two Ribbons' has echoes of all the above while retaining the weird avant-pop moments that made their first couple LP's such a different prospect. Big, bold melody-focused anthems.
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