Hannah’s Little Sister
Heist or Hit
I don’t know who Hannah is, but her little sister is one hell of a killer band. They’re kind of hard to ignore, traipsing that well-travelled line between glamour and sleaze. On the surface, the songs jolt with all the juiced voltage of a boisterous school trip, but when the light catches, glassy shimmers of deeply personal experience and social commentary glance the ear. They’re a four-piece out of Liverpool, home to the likes of the Beatles, Echo & the Bunnymen, Frankie Goes to Holllywood, The Wombats, The Las, The Farm, Teardrop Explodes, and the greatest football club in the history of the world (Up the Reds!). Meg Grooters is the front woman, playing guitar, synths, and providing vocals in this wonderfully off-kilter girlish voice. Will Brown is the drummer, Nina Himmelreich plays bass and does backing vocals, and Ashley Snook plays guitar and does backing vocals.
EP.mp3 is their first ep, having burst onto the scene away back in 2018 with the track ’20,’ which was self-produced and well-received indeed. Now on the trendy Hit or Heist, an indie based in Manchester and London, they’ve teamed up with rising producer Saam Jafarzadeh, who has also worked with fellow Merseysiders Her’s and Brad Stank.
Musically, Hannah’s Little Sister are a mashup of indie rock and something from outerspace with the synth lines providing this futuristic feel that conjures up an imagined 70s spaceship future complete with velour and shag rugs. Or they’re the bar band in a dead end club, all glitter and spilled G&Ts on the floor, making the carpet sticky and home to mould spores that will one day evolve into intelligent life and blast off the fuck off this planet.
I’ve been listening to EP.mp3 on non-stop, I have to confess, drawn into their world. I am particularly partial to the middle track of this 5-song ep, ‘Chew,’ which starts off all hushed, beautiful and singer-songwriterly as Grooters is looking for space from her relationship and her partner ‘screaming all over’ her. And then with a synth flourish, we take off, the guitars crunchy before we spin off into different directions with shifts in the music and a pretty little bit of rhythm guitar, before it’s once more into the sky as Grooters essentially has a vocal breakdown over the background of skittish, crashing music. At 6m20s, this is by far the longest track on the ep.
And that flows into ‘Gum,’ perhaps the most synth-heavy track here, with frenetic drums that get dizzy from the tempo changes as Grooters and Snook torture their synths to the point where they’re ready to give up their secrets. Meanwhile, Grooters’ lyrics are wonderfully obscure:
Poverty plants in the smallest of spaces
Plucking the weeds for the smelliest roses
“You are here and we want to do whatever we do”
Losing all our teeth from gum, that never loses its flavour
It’s fun, blowing up bubbles with everyone
It never loses its flavour, done you a favour,
vending your favourite gum.
The constant tempo changes could be seen in the light of 70s prog rock, but I think that’s missing the point. This is far more adventurous music than the likes of Yes! or Emerson Lake and Palmer ever could conjure up. Rather, this is a reflection of this frenetic, kinetic energy that plays out all around and across the music.
The ep ends with their current single, ‘Anywhere,’ which is an almost manic track, as Grooters ponders relationships, and caring for someone else and yet, feeling like it’s impossible to be true to oneself:
I wrote this song just before I took a year out from uni, it was a weird time for me where I was discovering who I was, with my self-esteem at its lowest. I was lonely, I didn’t feel like I was enough for my friends, and I felt like I had to be someone else, and act a certain way to be accepted by them.
But it was also a time where I was in a really loving relationship, and in contrast to the situation with my peers I was just happy to be with that person, and live my life with them comfortably, wanting them around always. This was the good side of caring I hadn’t really experienced before. I guess that sort of created two meanings, because adoring people can be a toxic thing or it can be a really fun and even fulfilling thing. But, if you’re desperate to fit in or be liked and are wanting someone for the wrong reasons, it’s easy to slip into moulding yourself to do so.
And I suppose this dichotomy that she experienced is what plays out in the music,