SINGLE REVIEW: Small Talk by Grandmas House
Bored of small talk? So are queer punk trio Grandmas House. Their new single Small Talk is a fast and rough punk frenzy fuzzing with irritation that is guaranteed to add a bit of energy into the monotony of day-to-day Zoom meetings and the same old 'how's lockdown treating you?'.
The Bristol-based three-piece consists of Yasmin Berndt (vocals, guitar), Poppy Dodgson (vocals, drums), and Zoë Zinsmeister (bass), and they mix their love of post-punk with surfy melodies to conjure up an ensnaring, raucous sound that grabs you by the throat. They're pure punk vigour.
Last year, Grandmas House released their grungy debut single Devil's Advocate and its follow-up slow-build thrasher No Place Like Home, which sharply aimed at the British press and the nation's hateful ideologies in a Post-Brexit Britain hellscape. With two of the three band members coming from outside the UK, No Place Like Home saw Grandmas House concentrate their frustrations into a brooding, fevered sound while perfecting the seething irony that they capture in their lyricism.
New single Small Talk continues to play with this formula for witty lyrics, guttural vocals straight from the lungs, and fervid arrangements that Grandmas House have so effortlessly concocted. The song features on their two-track cassette tape arriving via Brace Yourself Records (Italia 90, Nuha Ruby Ra, Peeping Drexels), alongside last month's release, the soaked-in-sarcasm Always Happy.
Small Talk is all fast, bouncy guitar riffs, thumping basslines, and aggressive drums. There's an element of nostalgic surf-punk-rock that steps away from the darker melodies seen in their earlier releases, while Yasmin's throaty, deadpan vocals remain as sharp ever, with Poppy's backing yells perfecting the oh-so-tired lyrics of the song. Because we're all so fucking sick of small talk and creeps in bars who can't take a hint.
At just over a minute and a half, Small Talk is everything you want from a punk track, brimming with vibrancy and sarcasm. When it ends, you'll be racing to that play button, eager to spin it again.
On the release of the new song, the band explains: "Small Talk is one of the first songs we ever wrote. It’s fast-paced, rough and straight to the point and the way we’ve recorded it captures our live sound perfectly! Lyrically it represents a situation that a lot of people have unfortunately been in - you’re stood at a bar. You’re having a few drinks with friends. You’re having a good time when suddenly a man approaches. He starts with 'Hey how are you doing? What are you drinking tonight?' He’s got a sense of entitlement in his voice. The small talk has officially begun. Get me out of here."
When the band say the track captures their live shows, it only makes us more desperate to go to a Grandmas House gig as soon as we can. Having taken Bristol's music scene by storm, the band have played renowned venues such as The Louisiana, Rough Trade, and Exchange. After a sold-out show with Gender Roles, Rough Trade remarked: "Grandmas House make tenacious and infectious punk rock that veers between the murky dark gloom of The Wytches and the Riot Grrl thump of Big Joanie." And doesn't that sound like one hell of a gig?
The trio continue to prove that Grandmas House are an unrelenting, scene-stealing post-punk powerhouse that demands your attention, and we can't wait to see what they bring us next!
Review by Chloe Robbins