Whenever you meet anyone from Norwich they all say exactly the same thing about their hometown – about how it’s a place that nobody passes through on their way to somewhere else, and so the good people of this medieval market town just get on with things by themselves, proudly and with little regard for the rest of the country’s ways. The isolation brings with it ridicule (a small-minded Alan Partridge under a cow) but also a feverous creativity currently found in the city’s growing art scene and experimental musicians like Luke Abbott.
As far at ridicule goes, Let’s Eat Grandma are a soft target, on account of their ages (Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth are 16 and 17, respectively) and the hyper can-do-let’s-do music that they make. Each factor is a product of the other, of course, and both make ‘I, Gemini’ a creative free-for-all that shouldn’t only be applauded simply for existing, but for its moments of defined excellence also.
Considering LEG are from a generation raised on technology, it’s quite unbelievable that a record as varied (and nuts) as this doesn’t feature one sample – the keyboard, guitar, drums, saxophone, harmonica, mandolin, cello, recorder, glockenspiel and ukulele that ping around these 10 tracks are all recorded live, some slicker than others. It’s best to list the styles they touch upon too, and it’s here where Rosa and Jenny do show their age with no fusty prejudice towards any one genre.
The opening ‘Deep Six Textbook’ is what got beardy guys excited about LEG with its glacial pace and controlled drones. Those people might well feel they’ve been had by the following ‘Eat Shiitake Mushrooms’, and maybe they have – it’s petulant by comparison and features deep disco synths, J-pop vocals and brattish teen rapping. Next there’s a stromping saxophone bit (‘Sax in the City’), pagan recorders and pat-a-cake sing-song (‘Chocolate Sludge Cake’), harmonised trad folk, a night-terror fairytale, a really weird seasick song about sleep, a nod to ambient composition followed by something more tribal, and a closing ukulele rendition of the opening high-point – itself a joke at the end of an album that has throughout challenged the archetype of two young females making music together.
It’s not without the missteps you’d expect from a debut this wild (‘Sleep Song’ is overlong; ‘Chocolate Sludge Cake’ annoying in part) but it seems reductive to denounce ‘I, Gemini’ on account of its lack of focus when we’ve grown so tired of young musicians obsessed with a nostalgia they can’t remember but we can and are sick of.