Counter-intuitively, the PR for ‘Gum’ – the latest single from off-beat Liverpool quartet, Hannah’s Little Sister includes the instruction from lead singer, Meg: “Go pirate our single!”. Alternative music abounds with contrary positions but perhaps, in an era where the concept of ‘selling out’ has largely been forgotten, displaying a disaffection for the commercial feels radical once again.
For Hannah’s Little Sister themselves, the last two years have been a period of change: with one bassist departing and another arriving, during a ‘lofi gap year’ in which the band honed their sound and live performances. Given the ferocity of the HLS live show circa 2018, and their Pixies via East Lancs stylings, it’s hard to see where the improvements could be made – until the band came storming back post-lockdown, freshly signed to Heist or Hit, with the playground alt-rock hi-jinx of ‘Bin Mouth’, their first release since signing to the label.
Where ‘Bin Mouth’ used a childish slur to address the figurative rubbish that some people spew, new single ‘Gum’ occupies a similar space, in using the all-too-briefly satisfying confectionery to address the distracting nature of consumerism.
Opening with Helen Love style synths that suggest, as with ‘Bin Mouth’, that the group are also throwing a hint of C86 into their mish-mash, Meg’s vocals emerge, deceptively sweet.
The song’s bridge throws everything back into chaos, as overdrive guitars riff towards the chorus – “Locking up our jaws on GUM!” – just like the machine reasserting itself over the creative. The chorus, a sort of internally-rhyming triplet, replete with yelps and smacks of percussion, almost hits you over the head like a marketing jingle – albeit one with an indie inflection. Those synths return, and the song seems to have settled into a off-kilter bossa nova, before the next verse and chorus return with their blend of the sweet and savage. But the closing ninety seconds of the song go off the deep end, sonically, pivoting first to a slowed-down gum-themed incantation, a chill-out dream-pop vocal and finally closing with a wonky disco instrumental.
There’s only an audio video for the song, at present, but their commitment to an off-kilter aesthetic in the teaser (and social media promises) suggest that when the full video appears, it’ll be another trip into the bizarre world of the band. That being said, for all the ordered mayhem of their audio and visual style and the self-described “rant” of the lyrics, Hannah’s Little Sister have crafted a tune that bolts on their different influences into something at times challenging and chaotic but equally pragmatic and poppy. And if you don’t like it, the band seem to say, you might as well chew on it.
‘Gum’ is out now, and is taken from Hannah’s Little Sister’s upcoming debut EP EP.MP3, set for release 20th November via Heist Or Hit.
Photo Credit: Beebo Boobin