HANDS OFF GRETEL

I WANT THE WORLD
(Puke Pop Records)

Riot grrrl on the loose in South Yorkshire

8/10

South Yorkshire has long been a plucky region. It has needed to be. Even its left leaning governments of the 1980s – which helped gain the whole area the moniker ‘The Peoples’ Republic of South Yorkshire’ – couldn’t stop Margaret Thatcher waving her malevolent wand and decimating the region’s coal industry. But it probably doesn’t matter one jot to Hands Off Gretel frontwoman Lauren Tate – she wasn’t even born. It was left to the likes of Saxon, Def Leppard and the Human League to provide the homegrown musical backdrop to the years of decline. But now there’s a new force of nature to be the voice of misfits, miscreants and nursery rhyme nightmares. Hands of Gretel were born in 2015. Inspired by the likes of Hole, The Distillers and Nirvana, this is acidic grunge-pop laced with South Yorkshire grit. Mental health, body image, loneliness – the topics covered aren’t for anyone having a bad day. Lauren Tate is a girl who has a lot to get off her chest and her cathartic release appears to be cooking up a true shitstorm in certain areas of music business who are naming Hands Off Gretel as a band to watch. I Want The World delivers vitriol and addictive sounds in equal measure. Album opener ‘Kiss Me Girl’ is music’s answer to a line of coke – you’re sucker-punched within seconds. But the title track is the killer tune and truly shows the quality of the band – hook-laden and instantly addictive, it is reminiscent of the very best of the band’s influences and more.

Neil Anderson

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