EP REVIEW: ISOLATION TAPE BY BORED AT MY GRANDMA’S HOUSE
Updated: May 2, 2020
Following her gloriously glazed debut “Skin”, comes needed stress-relief in the form of almost trance-like hypnotherapy. Dream-pop artist Bored at My Grandma's House outlines the lessons to be learnt from these trying times in her ambient bedroom production 'Isolation Dreaming'.
Isolation Tape cover artwork by Amber Strawbridge
The genius behind Bored at My Grandma’s House, Amber Strawbridge, gave DRAB the opportunity to have a sneak peak at her bedroom EP Isolation Tape ahead of its release on the first of May, and it would be an understatement to say we were excited. The bedroom artist told us that it was quite a “random release”, which to her felt “natural” to produce. Having only heard her previous song “Skin”, we were intrigued to say the least. Intrigue turned to delight upon first listen when it became apparent that her talent has no bounds. With influences from Wolf Alice, Beach House and My Bloody Valentine this EP venerates those artists in a more lo-fi style that is not dissimilar to the likes of Clairo or Superorganism.
Introducing more synth-wave influences, and even lower fidelity recording strategies, Amber tells us she wrote the first two songs on the EP in just an hour, layering sounds on her bedroom synthesizer. Her direction, as she says, has become more mood-based and less focused on narrative for this EP. The songs themselves, however, aren’t lacking in meaningful messages. Amber says that she has written the opening track “Isolation Dreaming”, my personal favourite, to portray the surrealness of being locked in doors watching the terrors of the outside world continue during lockdown. Throughout this song, her dream-like synth-waves perfectly match the titular chorus hook. Impressively, the song is full of originality that is unmatched by the countless other creators using the time at hand to write and produce. I can relate this song musically to the ambient style of its predecessor, “Skin” through the mild abrasive shards in each texture that I’ve come to know and love in her music.
Amber’s ‘stay-at-home’ set-up
Next up we have possibly the weaker of the tracks to appear on the EP, merely because it lives in the shadow of the brilliance of the songs on either side. “Suit and Tie”, Amber says, is a soundscape mixed with almost subliminally slurred lyrics that depict the CoronaVirus pandemic’s indiscriminate nature, as it also affects the wealthy and the politicians who are fighting it. In Amber’s words this ditty is ‘kind of just saying fuck you to capitalism and how weak it is’. Following “Suit and Tie” the EP returns to Bored at My Grandma’s House’s familiar guitar oriented style with the finale “Watt Phra Si”. This beat-tape samples some Thai children singing in chorus together and warmly lifts spirits to end the EP. To me, this last song acts as a sign of hope that lockdown is not the be all and end all. Instead, it leaves us feeling comforted by the sweet chants of children that we can no longer hear outside our windows since the streets have become so barren.
This EP has served as a pastime project for Amber Strawbridge, Bored at My Grandma’s House and for us, as a short but sweet soundtrack to uplift and brighten the dark times we are struggling through. A triplet of sweet lullaby-like melodies with considered and relevant importance. With each listen I’m transported to a slo-mo scene of smile-ridden teenagers dancing in a field, arms outstretched, in a timeless coming-of-age classic that we all wish we’d lived in when we were fourteen. All anxieties disappear as my mind is filled with a calming palette of pastel colour imagery; this EP put me in a trance like state, which is promising for the future of Bored at My Grandma’s House. Oh and did I mention she's Leeds based? Huzzah for this melting pot of talented musicians!
You can listen to the EP here
Writing by Luc Gibbons