Let’s Eat Grandma Navigate the Digital Maelstrom with savvy on I’m All Ears | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Let’s Eat Grandma Navigate the Digital Maelstrom with savvy on I’m All Ears


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The pop-song chorus is one of the most direct forms of communication humankind has ever produced. Slam a simply worded message into a hook, make it catchy, and it can become part of the cultural consciousness with the familiarity of a common prayer. Queue up the right song on TouchTunes and instantly turn any bar into an impromptu choir. It stands to reason, then, that in a world where people are brought messily close together through social media, pop music would at times mirror some of its less savory attributes, such as branded tweets, targeted harassment, and catfishing. It’s in that swirling (cyber)space that childhood friends and teenage digital natives Jenny Hollingsworth and Rosa Walton, who make music together as Let’s Eat Grandma, thrive. The newest album from the British duo, I’m All Ears, takes the carnivalesque chaos of their 2016 debut full-length, I, Gemini, and sharpens it into sprawling but cohesive avant-pop. The band isn’t the first to use pop music tropes to address the changes brought by on technology (EMA and Molly Nilsson are two recent examples), but their youth—both members are under 20—provides a deeper interpretation of technological advances than most, one free of value judgments. “Hot Pink,” the lead single on I’m All Ears, moodily waltzes in before mechanical drums and shattering glass accelerate the song into a chanted chorus of “Hot pink / Is it mine? / Is it?” The effect is a menacing evisceration of imprisoning gender roles that evokes the specter of both capitalism’s commodification and mobs of male trolls howling across the Internet. On “It’s Not Just Me,” they deftly communicate both the distance and closeness that can color online interactions, using lyrics that express equal parts doubt and reassurance. “You know I’ll never be too far if you’re looking for somebody,” they sing, recognizing that friendship can be a DM away, regardless of geographic location. The show tonight is part of the group’s first full U.S. tour.   v

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