Single Review: Grandmas House – Small Talk/Always Happy

‘So sick of small talk!’

Taken from ‘Small Talk’ by Grandmas House on Brace Yourself Records

Having recently reviewed ‘Always Happy’ for Joyzine from this talented, all-female, Bristol, punk trio, it was an exciting prospect to listen to a new release from the band, incorporating a new single, ‘Small Talk’, along with a further opportunity to listen to the fabulous, ‘Always Happy’. The new single is released via cassette on Friday, March 12th, on Brace Yourself Records.

Whereas ‘Always Happy’ intrigued me because of its deeper, philosophical message with a gradual, building intro, ‘Small Talk’ is a totally different beast. I use the word, ‘beast’ because, right from the outset of the song, we’re engaged in a delightful explosion of noise. Once more, as with all their musical output, Grandmas House takes me back to being a lot younger, engaging in the delicious, raucous energies of the Sex Pistols, The Clash and so many more pioneering, punk icons. 

This is punk at its raw finest and instantly made me want to pogo around the room in joyous rhapsody, at great risk to my ageing knees. But hell yeah…who cares about stupid, old knees when you have this kind of music blasting through your headphones at full volume? (and wishing that the volume control went twice as loud)

In true punk/classic rock and roll fashion, the single is short, weighing in at a mere one minute and thirty-six seconds. Not a single one of those seconds is wasted; each packed to the ceiling with infectious energy. ‘Small Talk’ begins at an explosive pace, before easing off slightly for eight bars of a clever, bass-led section, before returning to the main pace. The final twenty-five seconds of the single again deviate in pace – with a very strong bassline once more – before gradually rising to a final crescendo of pure energy and leaving us wanting much, much more. 

Not only does ‘Small Talk‘ make the listener want to euphorically leap around, it strongly demonstrates the creativite abilities of the band to both write and play music that pulls us one way, before skilfully pushing us in another direction, whilst at no time losing the central theme of the song, or the message(s) which Grandmas House choose to express to their audience. 

The sheer craft of this musically-adept trio is awe-inspiring, led by the fiery vocals of Yasmin Berndt, with Poppy Dodgson on drums and Zoë Zinsmeister on bass creating a highly energetic and masterful cocktail of sound. 

Every time I hear their music, Grandmas House make me proud to be Bristolian and I’m eagerly awaiting their future work. More please! 

‘Small Talk / Always’ Happy is released today on casette and digital download via Brace Yourself Records. Order now on Bandcamp.

Review by Kev Milson

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